Monthly Archives: May 2011

Christ died and lived again so that ALL may believe…

Romans 14: 7-12  [7]We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. [8]If we live,
we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we
live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. [9]For to this end Christ died and
lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

10]Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you
despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat
of God. [11]For it is written,
    “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
         and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
[12]So then, each of us will be accountable to God.

When my son really wants something from me, he calls me “Mim” instead of “Mom”.  The tone of his voice changes.  It is more playful.  I know he is about to launch the attack of arguments and rebuttals.  I ready myself mentally for clarity of word choice, physically for a deep breath and energy to stay strong, and emotionally to make space for compassion.  For clearly what is coming is something he assumes I might quickly say, “NO!”

I get the feeling Paul is tapping in to this “Mim” mode when he writes this letter to the church of Rome.  Paul seems to be soliciting help and in doing so reveals a great deal about his own journey of faith and the early church.  I hear passion in Paul’s voice.  Sure, there is compassion, but passion rings through for me.  Passion that is encompassing ALL and EVERY.  Rome seems to be despising and casting judgment instead of loving and embracing.

Who do you need to love and embrace?  Someone down the street, a community across the world?  Live into the Lord loving and embracing these children of God.

Is someone despising and judging you?   Are you oppressed at your job or in your home?  Live into the Lord loving and embracing these children of God: the oppressed and the oppressor.  This is how we bow faithfully before the Lord.  It is perhaps the most difficult  position to encounter, praying for someone you despise.  Yet, it is really the only way.  For if you try to “fix it” on your own, the oppressor will continue in the ways of this world.  Pray for God’s love to intervene.  The promise is this:

Christ died and lived again so that ALL may believe.

Your witness to true life as the one who is oppressed is beautiful music to God’s ears.

Thanks be to God!



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Morning after the storm

Yesterday was the last day of my pastoral internship.

It was a stormy departure for me.

A surprising number of tears.

What a blessing St. Barnabas Presbyterian Church has been for me.

Thank you!

Last night I spent 90 minutes in the storm closet with the kids.

The tornado sirens kept going off.

The storminess continued well into the night.

No tornadoes in Richardson.

Just lots of reminders of the storm the night before.

This morning instead of going to Bible Study, I walked five miles.

What a beautiful morning after the storm.

Everything was so green and lush.

I found lots of promise in the day.

I watched a baby nutria displaced by the storm find its way from the intersection safely back to the creek.

I saw so many reminders of new growth.

I spied in the muddy water pools settling.

The birds were chirping happily.

The breeze was cool and crisp, a big change from the heaviness of the humidity these last days.

So today, I will focus on the promise of new things to come the morning after the storm.


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Is God leading you toward a new dwelling place?

John 14:1-4

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way to the place where I am going.”

I was captured by the photo of this squirrel in a house just it’s size.  Provision.  Today this is what I hear in John 14:1-4.  Provision that is just right for each one of us.  Provision that will be different for each one of us, as different as each  path leads us toward God.

But this is what I know about Mr. Squirrel.  Mr. Squirrel will leave this house in search of food, in search of new shelter with full faith that there will be provision:  food from the trees, leaves and mud to build a nest.  This dwelling place is only a temporary gig.

This is God’s desire for us.  There is not a permanent dwelling place.  For if we remain in one room or in one house, we become stagnant and comfortable in our faith.  Teresa of Avila provides the metaphor of Interior Castles for us.  The spiritual journey is a journey of faith, moving from castle to castle, from dwelling place to dwelling place, from house to house, and from room to room.  In each new step, moving in faith toward God.

For me, it is not about the degree of faith, it is about moving toward God.

How are you moving toward God today?

Is God leading you toward a new dwelling place?

May you be open to see where you dwell with God today.


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It is all about relationship…

John 10: 7-10

7 So [Jesus] tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. 8 All those others are up to no good – sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. 9 I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for – will freely go in and out, and find pasture. 10 A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

A gate has no purpose if there is no one to go through the gate.  Just as a shepherd cannot be a shepherd without a flock.  I am struck by the way Jesus reveals his identity tied to relationship with the flock.

Which flock are you hanging out with these days?

Is is a flock stolen by thieves and robbers?

Or a flock leading to abundant life?

What gives you life?

What takes life from you?

Lean into those things which give you life.  It is in this place you will find the gate to abundant life.

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The tide is turning

Tide heart by Janice Hunter

Isaiah 50:4-9a

[4]   The Lord GOD has given me
the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain
the weary with a word.
Morning by morning he wakens —
wakens my ear
to listen as those who are taught.
[5]   The Lord GOD has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious,
I did not turn backward.
[6]   I gave my back to those who struck me,
and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face
from insult and spitting.

[7]   The Lord GOD helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
[8]        he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries?
Let them confront me.
[9]   It is the Lord GOD who helps me;
who will declare me guilty?

I get the distinct image of a turning tide when I read Isaiah 50.  It is an image that is my greatest hope for the world.  The hope that if we all hit less and listen more we will become stronger as a family, as a community, as a nation, as a people, as a world.

And as the turning tide is a metaphor, so is the hitting.  For we hit not just with our hands but with our words and with our eyes, with our apathy and with our greed.

With each choice we make to listen instead of hit, the tide will begin to change the canvas of violence to something new.  And as the Lord God paints a new picture in the sand, we watch as each stroke of the master painter reveals the truth for today.  Love one another as I have loved you.

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