Friday, September 29, 2006

Proving Ground

Is all really said and done as memories fade
and all you were all about goes on without you
like a distant parade?

Will now be an empty time?
Will passions grow cool
as all that reminds you of...
just leaves you longing for, wishing to
abandon where you are, get up and run away
where no one else can see,
and you can be alone with all the things you've known
and all you hoped to be?

It's hard just to carry on, and harder to thrive,
when it feels like you don't belong here,
little makes you come alive, and everything is pain;
a mix of hope and grief for things lost and yet to be.
It is not said and done, nor has it just begun.
It's something in between.

Is there a reason, a meaning for this time?
A purpose hard to understand?
Will it be meaningless; a chase after the wind
or be a proving ground somehow in the end?

Now is not an empty time
but it's so hard to see:
You're not who you were before.
You're not who you will be.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Acts 1-2: Groundhog Day?

As I read the first two chapters of Acts, I notice a few things that lead me to believe that many of the issues we face today are not a whole lot different than what the early believers faced.

To be sure, there were differences (after all, we're not in danger of being used as torches in Nero's garden) but the basic human condition seems to have been the same: "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation" Peter tells his audience in Chapter 2.

I hear a lot about how society is going downhill - about how much worse things are now than they were just a few years back. But it looks like even the YzeroK generation was confronted with the realization of an apparent downward societal spiral.

The hope Peter offers for the problems of turn-of-the-first-millennia civilization is the same hope we cling to today:

"Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

And then, this clarification, which I love:

"The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off- for all whom the Lord our God will call."

By "far off," I get the sense that Peter was speaking geographically, so I really take a lot of hope from this. This wasn't some Middle-Eastern cultural promise. This was a promise that extended to lands that Peter probably didn't even know existed.

Earlier in the chapter, Peter explains what is going on by referring to the writings of the prophet Joel. The passage describes one of the things God says He will do in the "last days." So Peter was telling the early church that they were living in the last days.

Which leads me to believe we are also living in those same last days... kind of like a biblical version of the movie Groundhog Day. But I love the assurance offered by the realization that the reality of hardship is the same to us as it was 2000 years ago.

And so is the surety of our hope.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Seasons change

So much change seems to happen at the same time here. The fulltimers left this weekend, concurrent with the official start to fall. And here in Minnesota, the actual weather seems to pay attention to what the weather man says it should be like. Temps have dropped suddenly this past week.

Went to the Calvin's yesterday afternoon to do some late-season wakeboarding. The outdoor temp was probably in the upper 50's, and the water was probably in the 40's. A botched dock start left me in the water gasping for air... the neighbors (who were in the process of trailering their boats for the winter) must have thought we were nuts (if so, they would have been right.) But once up, the wakeboarding was fantastic, and the lake was absolute glass. Finished the day with a few rounds of extreme croquet and a campfire cookout. I do love the fall weather.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Missing the point

Erwin McManus was approached after preaching one Sunday morning by someone who took issue with a point he had made in his sermon.

"Are you saying that only Christians go to heaven?" the aggrieved party demanded.

"Of course not." McManus replied. "Christians need to come to Jesus just like everyone else."

They're Off!

[note- this post originally appeared on my Xanga blog. Clicking the link will take you to the original article, which will allow you to read the original comments]

...the fulltimers, that is. The teams left for fall tour today! They're so ready! I mean, they still have stuff to learn, but there's a point at which talking about things just isn't effective anymore before you have an experience to file it in. They're definately ready for that experience.

Check their schedules (which are now up on their respective CTI's sites- by individual team this year) and COME OUT AND SEE THEM! I'll be visiting 1422 while they are in Seattle, and 1421 while they are in New York and points north (but probably not Canada, much to my chagrin- sorry Cindy/Elliot/Jimmy/Wessica/Gable/LOTS of other people in Toronto- I'd love to see you all, but it probably wouldn't be the best time for me to be with the team.)

Pray for overseas opportunities (still under development.) Oh, and also that I won't get too depressed now that they're gone! (It's kind of inevitable when life suddenly goes from 120mph down to about 20 overnight - thought I am looking forward to a bit of a break.)

Monday, September 18, 2006

If you haven't already discovered them...

[note- this post originally appeared on my Xanga blog. Clicking the link will take you to the original article, which will allow you to read the original comments]

...the promised blogs for this year's fulltime teams are live. And as I mentioned earlier, I want to invite you all to participate.

Check them out from CTI's website- follow the obvious paths to the FT pages. They're hosted through blogger, but you don't need a blogger account to comment on them. (Comments are moderated by yours truly, so keep them family-friendly!) Only team members can post directly to the pages, but anyone can comment on the posts! (If you do have a blogger account, your profile can be accessed from your comments.)

Yeah, and since I had to set that all up, you'll discover something interesting here too:

A live feed from this Xanga is syndicated onto it too, which is pretty cool.

"Debris! We have debris!"

[note- this post originally appeared on my Xanga blog. Clicking the link will take you to the original article, which will allow you to read the original comments]

Currently Watching
By Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Cary Elwes, Jami Gertz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Lois Smith, Alan Ruck, Sean Whalen, Scott Thomson, Todd Field, Joey Slotnick, Wendle Josepher, Jeremy Davies, Zach Grenier, Gregory Sporleder, Patrick Fischler, Nicholas Sadler, Ben Weber, Anthony Rapp, Eric LaRay Harvey
see related

"Debris! We have debris!"

...I'm not really watching it... in fact, I haven't seen it in years. But I did see my first tornado this weekend, which was pretty sweet, I must say. So I was watching a twister...

Was out with 1421 for their first away from home gig- we did a workshop in Sioux Falls SD, then drove up to the booming metropolis of Trent (population about 150) for a Sunday morning appearance. The weather was nasty- 85 degrees at the east end of the state and 45 at the west end. And the two fronts colliding were spawning tornados all the way down to Oklahoma apparently.

We were driving up I-29, about a mile from our exit to Trent, and the team was all commenting on this weird cloud formation over an open field to the left of the van. I was driving, so I only glanced over at it, then back at the road. I looked back when everyone started getting really excited, and the thing was on the ground. Probably a couple of miles away, but you could tell that it hit the ground because there was a huge cloud of debris around the base of the funnel. Saaaa-wheeeet! (no disrespect to re-located cows intended.)

It was only on the ground for about 10 seconds or so. When we pulled into Trent a few minutes later, all the sirens were going off, which made load-in pretty fun. The team set up and we all went off to host homes for the night, only to be entertained by the sirens again later that evening- some nasty activity north of Trent that night, I guess. When we were driving home the next day there was a small spot on the side of the highway where the corn was just missing... how curious.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Speak of the devil...

In comparing two preachers who preached on hell, a listener said: "The one preached about hell as though he were glad some of us were going there. But the other preached as though the thought that anyone might go there was breaking his heart."

-A stinging observation made by Gordon MacDonald in his
Leadership Journal column

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Following God in neutral...

"We have put so much emphasis on avoiding evil that we have become virtually blind to the endless opportunities for doing good. We have defined holiness by what we separate ourselves from, rather than what we give ourselves to. I am convinced the great tragedy is not the sins we commit, but the life we fail to live. You cannot follow God in neutral. God has created you to do something."

-Erwin McManus

Saturday, September 02, 2006


this post originaly appeared on my Xanga site on June 20, 2006.

Currently Listening
Nothing Is Sound
By Switchfoot
The Shadow Proves the Sunshine

As a Christian, I'm quite sure I spend a lot of time trying to grow the fruit while spending relatively little time focusing on the tree.

Know what I mean? Trying to be "good" rather than allowing good to be who I am because it's a natural outflowing of who I'm striving to be through Christ. Having to remind myself " oh yeah, I'm supposed to be gentle, patient and kind."

I think the outside world knows when we force those things. People are rarely fooled by forced fruits. Unfortunately, I think I often fool myself into believing that this is what sets me apart as a Christian- that these are the things that people will know Christ in me by.

What happens when I fall, like the rest of the world? The times I "turn off" and forget to force myself to have self-control or be loving? What happens when high profile Christians fall to the same sins that mere mortals are subject to? What does Christ stand on when we've built His platform on good behavior and the like, and then we can't stand on it with him?

I'm starting to understand that the real thing that makes us different... the thing that really sets us apart... is the fact that Christ Himself dwells within us. Man, you can't force that! And no matter how much failing there is on the outside, the simple, yet profound fact that the King Of The Universe makes His home in my soul will be sufficient if I stop trying to convince myself (and the world around me) that the difference is in obeying the speed limit, avoiding the "more serious" swearwords, and actually *purchasing* the music I listen to.

'Cause *wow*.... I'm not all that different when measured against those 3 criteria.

(but I know a lot of non-Christians who are...)

Shine on me - let my shadows prove the sunshine