Tuesday, January 29, 2008

To be named or to self-claim?

Dan preached another incredible sermon on Sunday. I am still mulling it over. You know the message is great when it keeps coming back and God speaks through it.
He preached from the Genesis texts covering the Tower of Babel and the Call of Abram. One may wonder where the connection point is. He did a great job of contrasting the people building the Tower of Babel, so eager to make a name for themselves, versus Abram who is promised a name and future by God.

Dan threw out some current scenarios where we are so busy making names for ourselves, building our towers, managing our images, our futures, our legacies, our financial security......
Something resonated with me in the deepest part of my heart. These are the questions that it is surfacing in me....
How am I living in such a way that I am concerned about building my tower?
Do I believe God? Not in God, just do I believe God?
In what ways is my language indicative of someone who is overly concerned about reputation, legacy, perception etc etc...
Is the promise and reality of being God's child enough or do I still need to secure my position?
Do earthly things give me identity?
Does the church exist as a tower of safety and ministry for its members or do we join God in His work in the world outside of our churches?


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places

Eugene Peterson has a series of 5 books, 2 still unpublished and 3 done. One of which I have already blogged about, Eat This Book. Currently, I am reading Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places. Eugene Peterson has been a longtime favorite of mine. I remember being blown away by Working the Angles back in the early 90's. I still gain fresh insight into scripture from his translation of the Bible, The Message.

Hear this from the introduction.
"The two terms "spiritual" and "theology," keep good company with one another. "Theology" is the attention that we give to God, the effort we give to knowing God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures and in Jesus Christ. "Spiritual" is the insistence that everything that God reveals of himself and his works is capable of being lived by ordinary men and women in their homes and workplaces. "Spiritual" keeps "theology" from degenerating into merely thinking and talking and writing about God at a distance. "Theology" keeps "spiritual" from becoming merely thinking and talking and writing about the feelings and thoughts one has about God. The two words need each other, for we know how easy it is for us to let our study of God (theology) get separated from the way we live; we also know how easy it is to let our desires to live whole and satisfying lives (spiritual lives) get disconnected from who God actually is and the ways he works among us.
Spiritual theology is the attention we give to lived theology - prayed and lived, for if it is not prayed sooner or later it will not be lived from the inside out and in continuity with the Lord of life. Spiritual theology is the attention that we give to living what we know and believe about God. It is the thoughtful and obedient cultivation of life as worship on our knees before God the Father, of life as sacrifice on our feet following God the Son, and of life as love embracing and being embraced by the community of God the Spirit."

Wow, I wish we could hang out at Starbucks for a while and talk about this. Doesn't it make you want to read this book!

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Rule of Life

One of the course requirements for the Christian Spiritual Formation class that I just took was to write a Rule of Life. I loved the assignment. It helped me formulate much of my thinking and really hold up a covenant to God about who I want to be for His glory.

More impactful than I ever would have dreamed, was the time we spent sharing these. Somehow real intimacy developed in a bland classroom with 30+ people sitting in a circle. Unreal. As each person took a turn in popcorn fashion to share their rule, they really shared their heart. Tears began to flow, ministry happened, connections were deepened. It was spectacular. One of our classmates, Chris Chappotin wrote and sang a song as his rule. Some read prose. Others had written prayers.

This is what I wrote.
DISCLAIMER - This is who I want to be...not who I am all the time.

My Rule of Life is based on my favorite quote by Henry Ward Beecher, “It is not well for a man to pray cream and live skim milk.” The underlying principle in how I practice my faith journey is fullness and abundance. As I reflect on the different areas that are significant to me, they are stacked like building blocks. Individually these are all great things, but when they flow out of an intimate relationship with God born out of communion and worship they become sacred.

I desire to be a fully formed disciple of Christ in Spiritual Disciplines.
In my relationship with God I acknowledge that He is already present and I invite him to invade my life and space everyday. That invitation is extended through me being available in prayer, meditation, silence and service. Daily prayer for me is comprised of several different types of prayer usually all in an ongoing conversational style: The centering prayer when I feel myself getting out of control; Lifting up prayer requests on behalf of people and situations; Praying a verse or phrase when it enters my mind. Even though I know I need to develop the contemplative side of my prayer life more, I have found taking time once a week for meditative, contemplative prayer fits the rhythm of my life better than trying to do it on a daily basis.

I desire to be a fully formed disciple of Christ in how I respond to the Spirit.
In my relationship with the Holy Spirit I acknowledge that my heart and my intellect are best led when I am actively communing with the Father. Out of a life connected to God I will seek to respond to the promptings of the Spirit that lead me to serve, pray for, seek out, surprise and encourage others.
Also out of a rich inner life, I acknowledge that the Holy Spirit can change my heart, my will, my desires and the fruit that my life produces. Instead of trying harder, relying on will power or even Spiritual Mountain top experiences I seek the real transforming power of the Spirits work on my life.

I desire to be a fully formed disciple of Christ in how I see my neighbor.
In my relationships with the people my life touches I acknowledge that I am a more useful tool for God when I am communing with Him and in tune with the Spirit. When I am aware of the role God wants me to play in any given person’s life it is a more fulfilling and rich experience. My life is full of different types of relationships and they all need something slightly different.
As a wife I want the Fruit of the Spirit to define all my actions, attitudes and behaviors.
As a mother I seek to point my children to Jesus and provide ways for them to enter a real relationship with Him.
As a friend I seek to always live in the truest form of community.
As a minister my goal is to see others move from believer to disciple.
As a resident of Amarillo I seek to see the hurting in my city and do what I can where I am.
As a member of the global community I want to live in such a way that I am making a difference in the world for those who suffer the most.

I desire to be a fully formed disciple of Christ with my resources.
Extravagant Generosity – this is the legacy handed down to me from my Mother and I seek to continue living in such a way.
Faithful Stewardship – taking seriously the commitment to tithe my income and give over and above to other causes.
Hospitality - to family, friends, church members and strangers. We acknowledge the blessing of our home and all our possessions and seek to use what we have as a way of blessing others. I desire to have people feel loved and honored when they leave our home.
Conserving – by recycling and limiting waste we are trying to honor creation.

Have you done one of these? Share your thoughts?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I know, you are scratching your head wondering what this foreigner is going to say about Texas. I got this email forward today and it made me smile. In fact it was way longer with tons of funny things on it, but I am just going to post the first part. Seriously, I never thought I would see the day that Jeff Foxworthy's name appeared on my blog :-)

Here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about folks from Texas...

If someone in a Lowe's store offers you assistance and they don't work there, you may live in Texas;

If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you may live in Texas;

If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you may live in Texas;

If "Vacation" means going anywhere south of Dallas for the weekend, you may live in Texas;

If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Texas;

If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live in Texas;

If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both unlocked, you may live in Texas;

If you carry jumper cables in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live in Texas;

If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph -- you're going 80 and everybody's passing you, you may live in Texas;

If you find 60 degrees "a little chilly," you may live in Texas;

If you actually understand these jokes, and share them with all your Texas friends, you definitely live in Texas

Monday, January 14, 2008

Surreal Moments from the last week or so.....

1. Seeing Jess and Brad together.

2. Eating lunch with a fellow Grad Student while in Abilene - but the fellow student is the son of some of our good friends from Coppell and I could be his mother. But there we were sharing thoughts, talking about professors, ministry, books etc like peers. Amazing.

3. Having multiple "Church of Christ everyone really is only separated by 6 degrees" moments.

4. Entertaining the idea of taking Advanced Restoration History with Doug Foster in Zagreb, Croatia. How small can our world shrink too....

5. Seeing a picture taken by our friends the Roberts' of my childhood home in South Africa. Phew what a flood of memories in one picture.

6. Thinking about the fact that my Mom died 5 years ago. Sometimes it feels like forever and sometimes like yesterday.

Prayer for Divine Comfort (Augustine of Hippo 354-430)

My Holy Lord and God,
You are most majestic and most excellent, most strong and most omnipotent.
You are most merciful and most fair; most hidden and most truly present.
You are stable, yet without foundation; permanent, yet flexible in all things.
You change Your ways, leaving Your plans unchanged; You recover what You have never lost.
You are never young, yet never old; always searching, yet possessing all of creation
You are always working, ever at rest:
Restoring, Sustaiing, and Protecting;
Creating, Nourishing, and Developing;
Drawing all things to You, yet needing nothing.
You are never in need but rejoice at Your gains; You are never greedy, yet You demand a return.
Men try to pay more than is required to make you a debtor;
yet who can possess anything at all which is not already Yours?
You owe men nothing, yet You are faithful as if in debt to Your own creature,
when you cancel debts you have lost nothing.
You love, yet without prejudice; You are jealous, yet attentive;
Yet, O my God, my life, my holy joy, what is this that I have said?
What can anyone say when he speaks to You? But woe to them that keep silent.
Unless Your ears attend us even in the depths, where should we go? To whom should we cry?
O Lord, deliver us who now call upon You, so that our hearts may rest.
O Lord, seek also those who have not called upon You, so that You also deliver them.
Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Class or Retreat?

I am blessed to be posting this from Abilene. Just one day left of our one week intensive class. Regardless of the class topic or length, having the joy of spending time with David Wray is such a blessing that nothing else really matters.
But wow - what a week. So many moments of transparency, authenticity, challenge, struggle, formation, worship, community, joking, crying, praying.
I have several posts brewing in my head right now. But for today, the Breastplate prayer of Patrick of Ireland. Just soak up the richness of the prayer.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,Through confession of the onenessOf the Creator of Creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,I
n hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me from snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.
I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,Through confession of the oneness,Of the Creator of Creation.

I met Chris Chappotin

Hee hee.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Benazir Bhutto

In the global climate in which we live, we all lose with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
I keep hearing reports that Bhutto made it almost impossible for security to protect her because she insisted on being among the people, in large crowds. But if she had campaigned or lived her life any other way, she would not have made such a significant mark on the world. That is who she was. At some level, there is just a little less political hope in the world without her.