Thursday, September 13, 2018

God = Love = Change = You

Prayer is one of those special places we have the Encounter. The sacraments are another. There's something about the encounter that changes us forever. It can happen in a blink of an eye. During that graced time we experience something, an interaction, a feeling, but in that moment we just know. The encounter keeps us wanting more, keeps us searching, we go back to that place, just waiting. That's prayer.

So what happens when we have the encounter? One is that we are forever changed. We now know. We've experienced love. God is love. So follow me as I do the math. God is love, so you encounter love, the encounter of love is forever changing. Love brings healing, forgiveness, it drives out fear, it brings wholeness. Love knows no bounds. Love comes through human beings. Think of a loved one and what that relationship brings. If it's a long term relationship think about how different your life could be without that person. Love brings change... for the better. That's why community is so important. Love God and love one another. You can experience this love in a brief encounter with someone, in a gesture, a word, an action.

So if God is love and it brings change, and you can love and through your love bring change then can you see how important your actions are... they either bring love or nothing, God or nothing, they either change for the better or nothing. You are the conduit for God, God dwells within you.

Like waves gently falling over rock, that daily action forever changes the rock and God, love, gently falling over you daily through the encounter, you have to admit... I Am Not The Same by Unhindered.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Encounter

A glance....

A smile...

A gesture...

A Word...

Deep in your eyes, a Spark...

Keeps me coming back here time and again, seeking, waiting, searching...

Never the same, forever changed, eternally Lost in You by Red.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Divine Timing

This weekend was a big training on a Last Ship season 1 scenario. I love doing this as it's always a challenge and I'm always advancing into roles that are more and more challenging so I walk away feeling a bit inadequate.

Can't we say that about nearly anything in life? So many times we feel like we just don't measure up. At the risk of sounding cliche I'll say with as much emphasis as possible... this is from the devil, the accuser, always trying to rob us of our Divine identity and worth. 

Just now as I am preparing for this blog I received word that one of our young soldiers made some suicidal comments over the weekend, at the very time I was watching the video that I'm going to attach to this entry. How's that for Divine Timing? My guess.... at least one of you readers has that same demon whispering in your ear as you read this. Again, Divine Timing.

Here's a little discernment example for you... before I attended the training, in the days and week leading up to it I started feeling resistant to attending, I mean really resistant. I put those feelings aside and when I attended (not like I had a much of choice) I felt like all the planets had aligned and I was using all my gifts and talents to an end that God had intended and was helping others do the same. To the extent I initially felt the resistance to go, I felt the satisfaction for attending, learning and leading... times ten, as I was using all the skills and knowledge God has give me to serve others. No wonder someone tried to beat me down into the dust. My guess... there's a reason your being attacked as well.

Unfortunately we'll never overcome the human condition on this earth. We'll always fall short, always screw up, always be made to feel bad or inadequate but it doesn't matter... we have a Savior that loves us unconditionally, that gives us the strength and grace to liquefy those demons that mean to rob us of our Divine worth that's based not on our own accomplishments, not what we do, but who we are in all our clumsy, stupid, inadequate situations of our life. Hang in there soldier, it's who you are, it's what we do, it's  what we've worked together to equip you for, it's Never to Late by Three Days Grace.

Monday, August 6, 2018

The Wall

Thank all that is holy for autopilot. Today is one of those days when I'm smoked. Ever have one of those days? Nothing just seems to matter much and life's got you face down in the dust. I'm coming into one of my busiest seasons and I'm already ground down to ashes.

There's an honesty that comes when you hit the wall. You just don't have the energy to continue to hold up all those constructs that we use to support the projections of who we want the world to see. At the end of our self all that's left is God, everything else crashes down. In the cloud of dust, we realize no one really cared or understood, after all we kept them at bay with our smoke and mirrors. The only thing left is the Truth and so we start again trying to do the Best I Can by Decyfer Down.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Heart Disease

One of the biggest threats we have today is heart disease. I don't know too many people who don't suffer from it. There's only one real cure and it's not easy.... a heart transplant.

One of the biggest symptoms is lonliness. There's also anger, guilt, dissatisfaction, hopelessness, frustration to name a few. But here's the rub... it's like second hand smoke. Someone elses heart disease can effect me just as much as them, especially if it's someone you care for. In this digital age of social media the number of people who feel alone and isolated has skyrocketed. Why? I think a big part of it is because the exchange of texts, posts, photos etc doesn't allow for true, intimate diaglogue. We talk or text at each other not with each other so we're never really challenged to be vulnerable and spontaneous. The information we share is planned, calculated, massaged to give you the impression we want you to have and we can break communication without so much as even a goodbye (ever been ghosted?) When we operate out of this context we become hard hearted. I have control, there is no true vulnerability. This flows over to face to face interactions and relationships where people shout from their islands but lack real connection. On our islands we're warm, safe and in control so why would we ever want to leave this place?

God is not a tame lion, He lures us off our island into the ocean with our life situations, our needs, our desires. We are built for community, relationship, love, vulnerability and interdependence. Like the Trinity, the ones are only complete in the all. We have 2 choices... surrender to the heart transplant or hide on the island. Life is a journey of becoming who God created us to be and the first step is reconizing the need to change, to realize that our soul, on some level is singing the Anthem of the Lonely by Nine Lashes.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Puppy Breath

Now I couldn't just dump all that in my last post and walk away. That's not what it's about. Jesus is in the midst of suffering but there's life in and beyond all of that. That's the Good News, the Word Incarnate. That's what we're about.

I have to agree with my friend when he said that I seemed to be handling everything really well. I to am surprised but the reason why is the Good News. Somehow in the midst of the darkness I feel His presence. Words can not describe or help you understand. You have to experience it yourself. You can only experience by walking the walk into the dark, where words and symbols and images will not cut through the darkness.

Last night my little puppy was laying on my lap. Something tickled my arm, very lightly, barely perceptible but unmistakable. It was her puppy breath. I didn't need light, I didn't need to see her or know about her. Her breath was evidence of her presence. Throughout the last year I've wondered why I'm at peace, why I'm happy, why I can joke and play like I always have, why even though things have gotten rough, and God seems to have left me in the dark, I have joy. Those people and situations in my life are healing, slowly, but there is only one real certainty for all of us, so why the joy, why have I not given up on God, why do I still trust Him even though I can't see Him. Last night my little puppy gave me the answer. Puppy breath. Even in the dark I feel the breath of God, ever so lightly, barely perceivable, but unmistakable. I see the world rise and fall with every breath He takes, the life that He takes to himself as He inhales, the life that He gives as He exhales. I feel that breath.

Even in the darkest moments we are never ever alone. If we quiet ourselves, sit still, listen, observe,we perceive His presence. Though I can not see, He breathes on me... like puppy breath... even when it seems everything has gone Dark On Me by Starset.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

When the Smoke Clears

In a nut shell, shortly after my post about an upcoming mission last month, in this order, a death of a close family member on my wife’s side, a few days later within minutes of leaving the house for the funeral a call from her dermatologist regarding a mole that was removed.... melanoma, get into the office tomorrow for a full body scan and plan for surgery. A week later surgery, more tissue removed and a lymph node to see how far it's spread. Good news is it hadn't but 3 weeks later on my way home from the military base I get a call that I need to get her into the emergency room because of a severe infection at the site of the removal of the lymph node. After another surgery and 4 days in the hospital I'm tending to a 3" deep incision and packing it with gauze daily but the infection is gone and she didn't go septic. Two weeks later my pastor/boss is dealing with cancer with many challenges ahead. But wait there's more.... I just won't bore you with it.

A friend and I were talking and he said "wow you're taking all this really well!" others have said "how much can one person/family take?" It was then that I started thinking about the last year. I really find myself in a different place, a different person and occasionally I start kicking back at life a bit but after a few minutes it fades. All of us have challenges. All of us fight battles. There is absolutely no reason that I should be exempt from what everyone else experiences. Unfortunately, and this is what worries me, is I'm getting the system down. First shock, the feeling that someone has hit me right in the stomach at that place that knocks the wind out of you. Second comes the horror of what could be. Then comes the voice that tries to keep it all in perspective. For the next couple of days remind myself to breathe, literally not figuratively. Then with each bit of bad news it starts over again but on a smaller scale. Eventually I find my equilibrium.

In dark moments I feel like I’m waking up in a dark forest. I miss the good days when life was light and I drifted from one good thing to another. But I can’t find a way out, there’s no turning back and I can’t undo what the fight has made me. I feel like I’m ready to break but then comes the light and I AM ready to break. What I’ve missed in the smoke of the battles is that I’ve somehow unknowingly awoken in the middle of a war. I’m alone in my fight but others are fighting their own battle beside me. Those I should rely on can’t even hear of my fight, they’re so overwhelmed by their own.

Life is not about pain and suffering but pain and suffering are about life. When we go through life’s battles all the ego, the false self, the I is stripped away. We shouldn’t run from suffering but run to it, our own and others to walk with them. We say suffering is not a bad thing, it’s redemptive, but I don’t hear it explained why. We know it’s tied to the cross but that is just the catalyst. Here’s why… We’re human. Sin brings suffering. Jesus in His love willingly came to us to suffer as we do and through that act of love, saves us. Suffering is holy because Jesus chose to suffer with us. That’s it, that’s why. Can you think of a more intimate, selfless act?  Maybe this why I’m drawn to reach out to those in need, those who’s lives are obliterated by disasters? It’s what we’re called to imitate. 

Even if I could go back I don’t think I could change the outcome, I’m too far into this nose dive. I just wonder who I'll be when and if the smoke clears. So all I can do is embrace the suck with sweaty palms and brace for the Collision by Disciple.