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Monday, January 29, 2007

The Ugly Road from There to Here

I met someone online... A young woman, Chantal who used to go to the Church of the Good Shepherd before I got there. One Sunday, she was in church and I got to meet her in person. MaryLee, our pastor's wife recommended that I read Chantal's testimony on her blog, so I did. I loved it!

I love hearing about how God took dead people and breathed life into them. Chantal's story (by clicking on the link above) will not dissappoint you. I am especially intrigued when people sow the seed bountifully while setting themselves on fire, like the sidewalk preacher in Chantal's story.

About that same time, my sister, Deb emailed me. Deb, for me was like a goddess when I was growing up. Everything she did, I thought was the thing to do. She was the perfection of the American Teenager. I loved her hair, her glasses, the way she sucked her thumb and put ketchup on everything... She was the cat's meow! I am still sentimental about her, and wish that we were closer than just an occasional email.

She wanted to know how things were going in my life. I emailed back some little things, and told her about my blog. She told me that she thought I was brave, because of the journey of self-discovery I was making.

I thought maybe Deb didn't know even a little of who I was and where I have been, so, inspired by Chantal's bravery, I decided to post my story. (Glen asked me to leave his chapter out, which drastically decreases the narative.)

It is not for the lightly curious, and it will definitely knock me off any pedistal I may be tottering on. I was not brave enough to be completely thorough, it was too painful, and much of my story is not for the fainthearted or the gentile reader. (here's how brave I am: I wrote it on Thanksgiving day and posted it on January 28 so that it would be buried) You are welcome tor ead it, and if there is an area where I may give details that would help on your walk, or where you, as my friend or sister may know me deeper still, I would be happy to privately continue.

It is a story of dry bones brought to life.

1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"
I said, "O Sovereign LORD, you alone know."
4 Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.' "

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.' " 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

Ezekiel 37

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sabbath Rest

Why don't we do this?


Any thoughts on fasting?

What are the Scriptural mandates?

Under what circumstances would you fast?

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Fist Full of Dollars

This week I took some items back to WalMart. One was a gift that was the wrong size and accentuated my frumpiness. The other was some yarn that was just the wrong color of green.

When we decided to return these items, I couldn't find the receipt. Then, when I found the receipt, we headed to WalMart, maneuvered their horrendously designed parking lot, found a rare parking space, and started hiking toward the entrance. I looked at Glen's empty hands, and then at my own. We had left the bag on the couch as we walked out the door!

The receipt must have gotten filed, or at least looked at and suddenly it was missing again. I thought about taking them back without the receipt, but I knew that by now, the blouse had gone on sale, and I wouldn't get the full amount from it; so I decided to search again for the elusive piece of parchment.

Then, on Sunday night, I told Glen that I would be taking it back on my break on Monday. I had seen the receipt in his wallet, so I had every confidence that my plans would not go awry this time. He told me that he probably emptied his wallet since I saw the receipt.

My heart fell, but I decided to make one more search in the morning, and then make the return with or without documentation.

In the morning, I found the receipt; not in Glen's wallet, but in the basket on the counter in the kitchen. (whew) As I was placing it in the bag with the returns, I noticed the notice on the receipt that said, "Items may be returned with a receipt within 15 days of purchase." My mind quickly calculated the time. The blouse was a Christmas gift, which meant that it was purchased before that merry event, which ... was... more that fifteen days ago! Well, all I can do is try.

I got the the Customer Service desk with my returns and my receipt in the bag. I gave them to the nice young lady behind the counter, and she processed my refund!

She place a crisp and colorful twenty dollar bill in my hand, then poured some change on top of it.

I was surprised at the emotional reaction that sparked. It has been a while since I have had a twenty dollar bill in my hand, and my senses of sight and touch were peaked by its presense. I put the change in my purse pocket, and with the twenty dollar bill fluttering in the breeze of my passing, I headed for the craft department. I kept it in my hand as I relished my search for fabric, and, not finding any that I hoped for, my enjoyment of yarns and such. When I decided that WalMart had nothing to separate us, we walked together out the door and drove away, my new, still fluttering friend and I.

Wednesday evening, Glen asked me for it so that he could buy some gas.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Stick out like a Sore Thumb

AKA: Set yourself on fire.

A friend told a story about a guy who used to be at CGS who used to laugh about how effective Pastor Bayly would be with his short hair and bow tie at Peoples Park.

Tim of course would be ineffective, and so would this guy with his pony tail and ear rings. I would be ineffective at RECP or Planned Parenthood. The lady in her hair-dresser's chair would be ineffective, getting her hair dyed. It is not us, but God!

The work does not get done in the air between our vocal chords and their eardrums. It gets done in the heart.

If God has called you to People's Park, having taken you through the paths He has, and brought you to this moment, maybe it is because in your weakness, and "foolishness" His strength is made perfect.

We don't all have to go get a tattoo or dye our hair to be culturally relevant, but sometimes God has saved a person who has been down a thorney path and picked up a tattoo, or a divorce, or an illegitimate child, or any number of experiences that He has used to humble us.

It might be that if you looked just like everybody else at People's Park, all the people would ignore you!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Oh Lord You have seen this; be not silent. Do not be far from me, Oh Lord.

Early this morning, at about 4am, Glen woke up suddenly. Planned Parenthood was on his mind. He prayed that SOMETHING would happen today at Planned Parenthood that would glorify God.

Here's what happened:

Christians came to proclaim God's truth to those who do not seek Him.

A woman, looking for a REALTOR because she is moving to Bloomington, found a parking space, a helping hand, a real estate agent, and ... us! She asked if we were protesting. She encouraged us with her story of an abortion decades ago, and her struggle with despair. After meeting with the realtor, she reported that she found a place, and would be back next week to stand with us... She may even have found a church! (Please, thank God for, and pray for Linda)

A couple drove up in a vehicle that had "Jesus" prominently displayed on a plate on the front. The escorts and the guard approached the car and waited for the couple to emerge, as if to reassure them that they would be protected from the Christians. They waited a long time. Finally, the couple backed out of the parking space and left.

At least one of us was there long enough to see, for the first time, a young woman emerge from planned parenthood following the death of her child.

God was glorified!

Psalm 40

1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

4 Blessed is the man
who makes the LORD his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.

5 Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.

6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but my ears you have pierced;
burnt offerings and sin offerings
you did not require.

7 Then I said, "Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.

8 I desire to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart."

9 I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips,
as you know, O LORD.

10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
I do not conceal your love and your truth
from the great assembly.

11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD;
may your love and your truth always protect me.

12 For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.

13 Be pleased, O LORD, to save me;
O LORD, come quickly to help me.

14 May all who seek to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.

15 May those who say to me, "Aha! Aha!"
be appalled at their own shame.

16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation always say,
"The LORD be exalted!"

17 Yet I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O my God, do not delay.

Oh, Yeah!

Near Perfection

Two of the most perfect recording artists of all time:

  • Leon Redbone

  • The Temptations

No, three:
  • Nat King Cole (the cream on top)

Oh, Yah!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Sower Revisited

I hate to be redundant, but, as they say, repetition is a good teacher. While reading the following story (originally posted in November of 2005), consider where you are scattering the seed of the gospel, ...or is it still in the bag?

There was a land-owner who owned the land as far as the eye can see, no matter where you went. He gave his servant a large, abundantly full sack of seed, and told him to go out and sow it. The servant took the large, abundantly full sack of seed and went out-into the back yard. Although the master owned the land as far as the eye can see, the servant had come to think of the back yard as his own.

He set the large, abundantly full sack of seed down and dug up a plot of ground. He made it square, about 10 by 10; just right.
He dug up the soil and removed the sod. He tilled and added mulch and manure until the organic content was just right. He worked the soil until it was a pleasure to turn. Then he smoothed it all out; just right.

Finally, he made rows, straight and even. Each row was 12 inches from the last one, so he would have room to go between and pull weeds as the plants grew. He stepped back and surveyed his work with satisfaction.

At last he turned around and opened the large, abundantly full sack of seed. He reached in with his left hand and pulled out a handfull of seed and went to the first row. He planted 2-3 seeds per inch all along the row, covering the seed with the rich soil and tamping it down as he went. When he finished with the first row, he went on to the next and planted in the same way. He worked diligently in this manner, row after row, returning to the large, abundantly full sack of seed when his hand became empty.

When all the rows were properly sown, he closed the large, still abundantly full sack of seed, and stepped back.
He surveyed his work with great satisfaction.
He noticed that the sky was clear so he watered the plot.

As the days and weeks went by he watered the plot, aerated the soil, weeded the rows, and surveyed his work with great satisfaction. He put up a scarecrow to keep the birds away from the seed. He built a fence around to keep rabbits from eating the young plants. He even cut down a nearby tree because he noticed that it shaded his plot from the sun in the early afternoon.

As the weeks went by some of the seed rotted because of mildew or fungus in the soil. Some were left exposed by the rain or watering hose and were eaten by birds who were not fooled by the scarecrow. Some grew, but maybe their roots found the rocks that the servant had missed, or they were crowded by a weed that sprang up as quickly as they did; and they remained small and weak, and were scorched by the sun in the early afternoons. Some of the seed grew, strong and straight. These plants produced much fruit --40, 60, 100 times the little that was sown.

"This is what was written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Luke 24:46&47)

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

The Apostles respond in obedience, even when persecuted:

"The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ." (Acts 5:41-42)