Out Here Hope Remains

There is hope for the helpless ... Cry Out To Jesus. -- Third Day

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Who Do I Think You Think I Am?

According to some counseling courses I have taken, a key question that relates to self image is "Who do I think you think I am?" That takes some thought just to understand what is being asked, much less be able to answer it. Sometimes I think my autobiography will be entitled, "How I Tried To Be What I Thought You Wanted Me To Be And Why That Didn't Work". Preachers are such chameleons, and almost have to be to survive. Every member has in their mind what the preacher ought to be. And those images are as varied as flavors of potato chips on the snack aisle. At times in my life I have worked very hard to be what I thought someone wanted me to be. But today, I think people would rather the preacher be authentic. More iguana than chameleon. Both reptiles, the chameleon blends in and disappears against the backdrop. The ugly ole iguana just is what he is, and there's no effort to meet a higher expectation. That's not to say that preachers should try to be disagreeable to prove that they are being genuine. We should do what we can to maintain peace, as much as it depends on us (just as all Christians should). But maintaining peace and playing a part are two different things. Blogging is public self-disclosure - if done well! An elder in one of our Coast churches told me this week that he has been lurking on my blog for some time now. My mind immediately raced to think if I had disclosed anything embarassing or said "crap" in a while. I think I am safe. (Hi Fred!). Seriously, I took that as a compliment. But it does show that we care about what other people think. Especially people who say, "I don't care what other people think." If "who do I think you think I am" determines my self esteem, then what happens if I think you think I'm a creep? I am too sleepy to deal with all of this! On the Weekenders blog there is a good discussion along this line (people are actually blogging there although it is clearly not the weekend. It is quite the scandal). For the record, anyone who reads my blog is very cool and hip and trendy and should be proud. Those of you who aren't reading my blog ... well ... you should try to blend in better.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

He Has Something To Give

More than what he says, it appears to me that John Alan Turner gives his heart to the audience. Tonight he had me in tears as he recounted the story of the birth of Anabelle. Not only did he talk about letting God's glory shine in our difficult hours, he demonstrated from his own experience how this played out in his own life. When you were broken, John, God gave you a song. And you're still singing it. Thank you. I posted about 15 new pictures from tonight...I didn't take as many as usual. Tomorrow will be our last day together ... and I will miss having my friend John Alan around. It has been such fun, and he has been so helpful. Last night on the bus ride home the kids were a bit rowdy and talkative. Tonight they sang God songs all the way home. To me, that is a signal that the message is sinking in ... and that is what revival is all about. One more night to hear the message from JATurner, and then he will be on his way home...back to the ministries that call for his attention. He certainly has given his heart to us, and that is quite a gift. ******************** One of our elders took JATurner and myself to lunch today. He had bragged about this little chinese restaurant in a strip mall, so it was time to show us the way! When JAT and I arrived, two chinese people were standing outside the door fussing. The man was waving his arms and pointing his fingers. We went in and sat down. A man on his way out said audibly, 'Well, I'll never eat here again." We felt really bad about how this was going to turn out. It wasn't very promising. When I ordered sweet tea, she brought me unsweet tea. I informed her of her mistake, at which point she told me that they do not sell sweet tea. I wanted to say, "Ma'am, you are in Mississippi. It is possible that you did not get the memo, but most Mississippians drink, sweet tea." But it was the second place this week with no sweet tea. What is the world coming to? I don't have much to add to all of that, except that I did look at John Alan and say, "this is bloggable." So it is.

Monday, June 27, 2005

He Has Something To Ask

John Alan Turner had another great message tonight. His gift is well-used in speaking to teenagers (and to me!). I spent a good bit of time with him this afternoon, and one thing about JATurner... that man can ask some questions. He doesn't ask questions like I do. "How are ya?" "What's up?" "How are you feeling?" ... No... nothing so nebulous as that. He asks piercing questions that relate to the kind of person you are. He asks questions that require a moment of thought and that zone in on the key issues of life. His genuine curiosity is only matched by his accurate insight. I have only known a few people in my life who had the ability to see clearly through the muddy issue to the simple (and often painful) truth underneath it all. I like that about John Alan Turner. I look forward to his message tomorrow night at the Orange Grove church in Gulfport. ***************** Another man has something to ask as well. TCS asked some questions about "Praising in the Park". I'll do my best to answer them! Thanks for asking. I'm probably answering with too much info ... but take it for what it is! TCS: How did it start? JD: One of our deacons plays lead guitar in a band called "The Rochelle Harper Band". Rochelle started attending our church some months ago and began writing songs with a spiritual message. This became her passion and for several months now she has written several spiritual songs. The Rochelle Harper Band still played in clubs and other events along the Coast, but her shows took a spiritual turn. Making the decision to focus on the spiritual side of her craft, the Rochelle Harper Band evolved into Band of Faith. Rochelle Harper now performs in the band that bears her name, Band of Faith, and as "Sista Jazz" (20s Jazz standards). Rochelle is very oriented toward peace and love and unity, so she came up with the idea of all of the Christian musicians in the area performing for free as a testimony to the community and also as a means of encouragement and support. They started "Praising in the Park" as an avenue toward having a monthly free Christian festival. Each one would be hosted by a church, in order to help accomodate the vision of recognizing the one thing that all Christians can agree upon: the praise and worship of God. The third PITP will be July 30th at Beach Park in Pascagoula. TCS: Do you get grief from your congregation? JD: Ok, I'll be frank here. No one has said anything against "Praising in the Park" at this point. One person has suggested that perhaps the "Central Church of Christ" as an entity should not be the host ... but that I could be the host. Still, we probably had 30 of our members come out to the park the first time. Since then the event has grown and probably the comfort level will lessen a bit with the introduction of other bands, and our inability to filter everything they say. HOwever, we are not there to embrace each other's beliefs... just each other. In addition, because of some division we experienced five years ago, some of those who likely would have objected are no longer a part of Central. The answer to your question, currently, is NO. TCS: Has it been helpful? What relationships / in what ways has God been working thru it? JD: I think it has been very helpful on several fronts. *Use of talents. Since we are a Church of Christ, Rochelle Harper does not have the opportunity to use her musical talents when we are gathered for worship. So, it does give Rochelle Harper and Gary Boswell (the aforementioned deacon) opportunities to use their talents to the glory of God in ways they have not been able to do before. Some of our teens have served as backup singers as well, giving them some good experience. *It has garnered some positive press in the local papers and radio coverage. Since it is a free event with no corporate sponsors, these outlets feel free to promote the event with no conflict of interest. *It has given us opportunity to meet and talk with strangers in the public parks, rather than just issue scattered advertisements trying to get them to come to church. We want to move into the marketplace. *It has created something interesting at church that gives us a feeling of involvement and outreach. *It is a God-thing. We have no idea what He is going to do, whom he is going to bring together, and what opportunities will present themselves through this gift to our community. *Finally, all of us who are involved in the event are convicted that it is the beginning of a wave of praise that will grow into a culture-shaper, drawing more people to consider a new life in Christ. It has not been a problem-free enterprise, but it has been a great blessing. It is ever evolving. Rochelle Harper is a strong woman with firm principles and values. I personally just can't wait to see what God has in mind. I'll close with some statements from Rochelle: Matt 10:8b, "you received without paying, give without pay". This passage is the motto for Praising in the Park. This is a free Christian Celebration to bring fellowship regardless of denomination and to praise God .... There is music and ministering, and fellow Christians, Bibles available, the Holy Spirit and YOU! ...Let's join together as Christians and raise up our Lord, Jesus Christ as high as we can with our hands holding our neighbor's and our voices in unison as we praise God together. Bring a picnic, a blanket and your voice and join fellow Chrisitans at Praising in the Park. It's a Backyard Mission! Your backyard.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

He Has Something to Say

Chief on my mind this week is the COAST YOUTH REVIVAL with John Alan Turner. JATurner wrote a few things about it on his blog, located HERE. Tonight we got off to a great start. It was a good ending to a long day. Pictures are located on my picture page - link to be found in the sidebar to the left. I hope to update them with more pics each night. I have been looking forward to this Revival for a long time, but the time spent today with John Alan renewed my expectations for what God can do with this event. Perhaps I am too event-driven. I have tried to re-orient myself toward relationships - but I still love a great event. It energizes my spirit to see a crowd gathered to worship the Lord. The singing from the POWER OF PRAISE praise team makes my heart race. And especially if the crowd is made up of a bunch of teenagers. The way they give themselves over to praising God blesses me. As much as I love a big loud bold gathering, the heart-tuning work of the kingdom is best done one-on-one or in a small group of friends. That's where the real mettle of faith is tested. It is easy to scream his name in the middle of ten thousand fans (or even 100). It is a bit more difficult when it is me and one other person, both of us seeking God's will for our lives. But for this week, I'd like to scream with the fans ... and enjoy a great youth revival! God fill us up with your Spirit! And let us listen to John Alan Turner. The man has something to say.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Pictures of Current Events!

Click HERE to see images from today's Praising in the Park 2. Click HERE to see details on this week's Coast Youth Revival with John Alan Turner! Click HERE, but nothing happens.

A Lotta Trouble Lookin' Back

I guess it is just a reminder of how good things have been, or an attack of Satan. But in addition to my van being in the shop (until Tuesday!), I got in my truck and the rearview mirror was dangling by a cord. Sigh. When it comes to fixing things, I'm not even up to par with Tim Allen. If I were Bob Villa, "This Old House" would be "It's Still This Old Broken Down House, But Now With New Things To Fix". And that's too long a title for a tv show. Manfully, I went to Auto Zone in which I became invisible. I'm always invisible in Auto Zone. I think there's a sixth sense that the workers have whenever someone like me comes in. They can sense that I'm going to ask a question like, "You know that doohickey that holds on to the whatnot that kinda looks like a handle, but it doesn't open anything? Well, it broke. How do I fix it?" So they busy themselves. I swear one of them had a phone up to his ear chatting to no one about a part that doesn't exist. Well, they couldn't ignore me forever. All I wanted was an adhesive sticker with which I could stick my mirror back to the windshield. Ha! Are you kidding? I was handed a small unimpressive packet and told to follow instructions. Ok. When I got to looking at it, I realized I was going to need a chemistry degree to use it. Sheesh. So of course I put it off for a few days. But a few days of the mirror swinging around in front of me convinced me that an accident was immanent. This morning I decided I want to be able to look back. First I had to remove the button from the mirror. This button is what is actually glued to the windshield that holds the mirror up. Remember that the mirror is suspended by a cord that powers some lights. I figure it's just a plug of some sort but it won't come out. So I'm bent forward awkwardly trying to get this button out. I spent 30 minutes trying and finally decided that wasn't going to happen. I would just hold the mirror there for the prescribed time. Next I had to break a vial ... yes ... break a vial and allow some dangerous substance to infiltrate a felt tip. I kept imagining cutting my finger and allowing this stuff to seep into my bloodstream, turning me into the Hulk when I get angry, or into the Lump when I get depressed. Anyways... I put some of the substance on the windshield in the right place (marked by a crayon from the outside - I could handle that part). Then I had to put some adhesive on the button. I took the top off ... it doesn't have a hole in it ... so I used some emergency fingernail clippers I had handy (oddly enough) and clipped the end off of the glue. I put it on the button, placed it on the windshield (where it slid around for a second). I held it there for what seemed like an eternity, but was probably 30 seconds. It stuck! Oh this is good. I was feeling pretty good about it and decided to turn the mirror.....which knocked it off the windshield totally. I scrambled to repeat the process, not knowing if it would work. It did. Fifteen minutes later it is still on the windshield. We'll see how long it stays there. That's a lot of trouble to look back. If I become too enamored with my mirror and always look back, I'll never be able to do anything but crash. But I can learn some things by looking back. And even if it is a lotta trouble lookin' back, I can usually see a little more clearly what God has been doing, what I've been doing, and how to merge my ways with His. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 3:13b-14]

Thursday, June 23, 2005

In Every Way

I'll admit that I have a bit of post-vacation depression. It's not just the way that my vacation ended (or that my van will be in the shop until Tuesday). I'm thankful that we are HOME and home SAFELY. Not much else matters, beyond that. But I can't get back in the swing of things. I escaped all of the stuff that goes on here for a week, and now it feels intensified. I did jump back into a big weekend followed by a big week ahead. Saturday we will have another Praising in the Park event, this time in Biloxi. A few of our members are skittish of the inter-denominational feel of all of this. But we're not embracing each other's beliefs...we are embracing each other as believers in Jesus. I see nothing sinful in that. Following that we will begin Coast Youth Revival with John Alan Turner. I am so looking forward to becoming re-acquainted with my friend. The teens are going to love his messages and be touched / changed through the message. I really can't wait. But all of that demands organizing and making things happen. It calls on me to call on others. They are in addition to the other demands on my time. So I'm looking through CBD's Spring and Summer gift catalog. And there on a faux antique plaque is the message I needed. Straight from the Word, the Apostle Paul whispered in my ear... Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. [2 Thessalonians 3:16] Waves of calm just wash over me when I read that. Take a moment to just let these truths soak in a bit. God is the "Lord of Peace". He gives peace (no charge?) Peace is available at ALL TIMES (even now). And In Every Way (in just the way I need peace). And He is with me (about what was I worried?) Now I just have to figure out why I needed a picture of a resin wall-hanging in a gift catalog to remind me of the eternal truth of God. Actually, I don't have to figure that out. I just need to accept His peace that goes beyond my understanding. I am stong When I am on your shoulders, You raise me up To more than I can be. --You Raise Me Up, Selah Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

1700 Miles Later...

Well, we're home folks! 80% of our trip was WONDERFUL ... The first 80%. Thanks to everyone who left greetings and comments... I enjoyed reading them. Donna...I'm going to answer your 'tag'! Later! For now, better get a cup of coffee for this post! After dropping the kids off last Monday in North Mississippi, we drove to Horn Lake to spend the night (as was recorded in the last post). The next morning we went to Reelfoot Lake to spend a few nights. But it was not to be so! I was hoping to find cozy cabins, but it's mostly fish camps (called "resorts"). In our opinion, it was pretty awful... so we drove to the nearest city, Union City, TN. Only when we got there it was just an open road through some sparsely populated areas, I couldn't find the 'city'! So I called my friend Cecil May, III in a panic..."I'm Lost!!!". He directed me to drive 20 miles to his house where we had a great time eating, visiting, and spending the night. It was really cool for Tommy Dublin and his wife Carrie and their beautiful girls to come over and visit as well! Great conversation, laughs, and friendship. I can't tell you what a delight it was to spend that time with Cecil and Patti... just a real memory maker for us. They have a Scottish terrier named "Duncan" who would not let me pet him - he kept hiding under the dining room table. Before we left, Duncan escaped and it was a little scary to watch, but the tenseness turned to humor as everyone tried to catch him. I just drove a van around, however! Patti & Cecil's bountiful breakfast included biscuits, home made blackberry jam and home made plum ... country ham fried in a skillet, scrambled eggs, mini-muffins, and coffee. We headed to Nashville, but I do question the route. I think I drove for 2 hours and was still in Kentucky. But who am I to question the directions of someone who could not catch his own dog? We did eventually get there and instead of some quiet outside-the-city out-of-the-way place, we dove right into Music Valley and got a third floor suite from which one can see Opryland Hotel. As it turned out, this was perfect. For three days we only drove to Opry Mills for entertainment and food ... Then back to the room for 3 hour naps and lazy nights. We did hear Jubal Lee Young in a free concert outside the Grand Ole Opry. That is not country music to me, but all the musical boundaries are pretty much gone. But it was fun. The humidity was 34% and the evening was perfect. We also saw Batman Begins...on IMAX ... which made it triple cool because it was already double cool. Go see it! We also ate at a Bob Evans and sitting right behind us was Grand Ole Opry star Connie Smith. I think she was eating with a member of Lonestar or one of those bands. The manager told us later that Merle Haggard occasionally eats in there (and gets grumpy with autograph hounds). Also Johnny Cash and family used to eat in there a good bit. Whodathunkit? Saturday was our day to venture out of the little cove and explore a bit. We drove down Hwy 70s to eat at The Loveless Cafe. This has been there since 1951. I had the fried chicken ... and I think it was one of the best meals ever! Maggy had a big breakfast. We looked around in the Hams & Jams shop and bought a coffee cup (of course). On the way back we located the Otter Creek church of Christ at which we hoped to worship the next morning. On the way back to the hotel our CHECK ENGINE light came on. The engine was making a terrible winding noise. It was not driving right. Not good. We went to the hotel and mechanics-that-we-are looked under the hood. The battery was pretty corroded around the posts. An old cajun gentleman proposed we pour some coca cola on it. I pretended I had never heard of that before. I did so. Waited a few hours ... Then tried to re-start... engine light still on. We found an Reilly auto parts and they checked the battery. Battery good....alternator not good. Ok...it's Saturday late afternoon in Nashville with a bad alternator. I'm envisioning extra nights in the hotel adding up on the bill. Not to mention what the van would cost us. The guy working at the place knew a guy who fixed cars 'where you are' ... so we called him. He had to drive an hour north to a warehouse to get the alternator we needed. At 9:30 that night he was replacing the alternator in the hotel parking lot. I have to take a moment to paint this picture. It's 9:30 at night ... in a hotel parking lot ... with a guy I do not know (and a friend of his who drove up) ... he ONLY takes cash (our checking account is a ghost town now) ... they are wearing gloves (no prints) ... I'm a sitting duck. Creepy. But they fixed the alternator ... I paid a hefty ransom ... turned on the engine ... CHECK ENGINE light still on. He plugged into my van and said "it's your transmission...I don't work on transmissions". I really felt the need to be somewhere else (like HOME) talking with someone I trusted and not in Nashville talking to a stranger. The glory, relaxation, laziness, joy and quietude of the week was now gone. I was up all night worried about what to do ... exhausted, we climbed into the van and headed for Ruleville, MS where my inlaws live. Unfortunately, because we faced who-knows-what on the trip ahead, we did not attend the assembly anywhere. We will have to catch Otter Creek next time. Disappointing. Since the transmission would not shift into third gear, we drove at 50-55 mph all the way to Ruleville ... 8 hours. Monday we rested and had wonderful visits with Maggy's family. We enjoy being together so much, it's a shame we are separated by distance as we are. We also made calls to the auto dealership. Guess what! The warranty we bought ... that warranty company went bankrupt. The good news is that our local dealer is servicing the warranty. But only in Pascagoula. So we took off this morning and 7 hours later arrived home. Beat, but thankful. Tomorrow we take it to the shop and hopefully they'll get us back up and running without too much pain. Yes, there are the haunting questions. Did we do something to cause the transmission trouble? Did we really have a broken alternator, or did we shell out mega-bucks to a rip off artist? What is that echo in our checking account? When we look back at our vacation, will we remember the wonderful 80% or the crappy 20%? I didn't mention that while the guys were in the parking lot working on my van, my good friend Gary Boswell happened to call on my cell phone. He reminded me to look at the blessings and keep our eyes on the positive. I think we did that ... mostly. Thanks, Gary! And that's what I did on vacation this summer.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Hello From Vacationland

Greetings! We spent the first day headed to the Mississippi Delta to drop off the kids at Maggy's mothers. Then we spent the night in Horn Lake, Mississippi (nearly Memphis). Sorry to all our friends who live in that area, but we were wiped out and just needed to rest, and get up in the morning and leave. So we headed up Hwy 51 from Memphis to Reelfoot lake, drove a round a bit, and ended up in South Fulton, TN to spend the night at Cecil and Patti May's beautiful home. They offered wonderful hospitality to us. Now we are about to hit the road to Nashvegas. Who knows what we'll do while we're there. It is my hope to worship at Otter Creek this Sunday at early church. We'll just have to see how the week goes ... if we like where we are ... or if the travel bug bites again we might head out for unknown territories ... before hitting the Mississippi Delta again on Sunday. Keep us in your prayers! Leave your blogger greetings here and I'll read them when I can!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

16 Months

This week I went to have the inspection sticker on my truck updated. I knew it was out of date because Maggy told me so. Hers was out of date also! I was a bit embarassed to note that the sticker had been out since February. I joked about that with the man who was replacing the sticker. The joke was on me, however, when he told me that my sticker was not out of date this past February. Actually, it was a year ago in February. For 16 months I have been driving around with an out of date inspection sticker. I think that at times I was aware that the sticker was out of date. I would have good intentions of getting the sticker replaced, but you know how things go. Something else would catch my attention and the sticker would be put on the back burner. Pretty soon it wasn't even on a burner. Even I am embarassed, though, that this went on for 16 months. The fine for an out of date inspection sticker around here is $110! There is no real surprise that this happened to me. All too often I find the basic things of life that need to be taken care of are put on the back burner while my attention is given to other fleeting things. It is so easy to have our thoughts taken captive with the exciting, dramatic, flashy things of life while the ordinary day-to-day things go untended. Yet, it is the ordinary things that give life structure and meaning. Have I been more attentive to Star Wars than I have to the spiritual war that is going on in my mind daily? Have I been more excited about my next meal than I have the eternal food that Jesus provides? Have I been so focused on my vacation trip that I have ignored the journey of life with my King? I thank God for His grace, because I have no doubt that there are some 'stickers' that are 16 months out of date in my life ... and I'm cruising along totally unaware of them. Abba, please open my eyes to the things that truly need my attention and energize me in my walk with you. Amen. (This was also posted to the WEEKENDERS blog.)

Friday, June 10, 2005

An Unexpected, But Brilliant Idea

As noted in my last few blogs, we have agonized over what to do with our vacation (which starts Monday). My Maggy had a brilliant idea... and that was unexpected. Ok, not that she never has brilliant ideas ... but that this idea is uncharacteristic of her. And me. We've decided not to make any plans. That's right. We will head for a state line, stop at the welcome center, get the materials available, and hit the road. While there are positives and negatives to this plan, the major positive is that we now know that we are going on an adventure and we look forward to whatever lies in our path. If you are getting visions of the Griswald's on their way to Wally World, don't worry. I have the same nightmare. BUT ... in this case the plan is no plan ... and I will have a lot of fun planning to blog about the places we stopped. It is an existential vacation ... the only true destination will be the one that is just before us.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Did You Hear The One About...

Did you hear the one about the man who agonized over where to take a vacation ... got all kinds of input from his friends ... finally settled on something ... and then a tropical storm followed him wherever he went? Bahahahaha.... hoo ... boo .... wahhhhhhhhhh!

The Stress of Rest

Maggy and I are going to take four or five days of vacation together, while the kids are at their grandparents. Sounds nice enough, doesn't it! We seldom have the time alone that we would like to have, and this will be a wonderful time for us. We have to be frugal ... there's not much elbow room for this kind of thing ... but we will be able to enjoy the time without having to be entertained every second of the day with activity. We are looking for leisure...sleeping in, reading, quiet walks, and good food. We would both enjoy being near some water ... or some place pretty. This is killing me! I am the king of indecision when it comes to this kind of stuff. I was falling asleep at the keyboard last night looking at state park cabins in various places ... then switched to hotels ... but I was too drowsy to continue. We are not big vacationers. We mostly do stuff with the kids and often it is a visit with family that is on the agenda. So this is odd for us to do this kind of thing. I should demand that we take more time together ... but life keeps us so busy. Anyhoo... I'm stressing out over trying to find some place to go rest. We don't want to spend days traveling there... so the SouthEast is definitely the location. Maybe you have some ideas? I'm afraid we'll end up travelling 30 miles to the next town and getting a room at a hotel just to get out of town ... and that would be so boring to blog about!

Monday, June 06, 2005

When A Beggar Knocks

I have an elderly friend who was a member of the church where I first served as a youth minister. She was a spry little lady with whom I enjoyed laughing and talking. She was an encourager. Her husband was not a Christian, but it was not because he didn't have a living example in his home. Her light was a bright one. First she moved away, then I did, but she always wanted to receive my church bulletin to keep up with me. Two or three times a year we get a letter from her. We got a letter this week from my friend. She is doing well. She was widowed a few years back. She lives in a kind of assisted living facility, but not a nursing home. Her memory is filled with images of the friends 'back home' ... a place that seems sweeter as she looks back through the lense of time. I can't tell you what joy I receive from these occasional letters. Of course, I always write back! Enclosed this time was a piece of paper. Unfolding it I found two five dollar bills. It was her 'good Samaritan' gift to our church pantry. She had read in our bulletin that the pantry was empty. What a heart! Her gift will flow from several states away into the arms of someone who has come to our door to beg. And so when a beggar knocks, we will offer our love, the love of my friend Lois, and the love of Christ. The food will help, but perhaps the love shown will point a lost one toward Jesus who comforts the Lazarus' of the world. They are nameless and faceless to Lois and even to me. But Abba knows them, and loves them. He sent Messiah to die for the beggars, liars, theives, whores, and the rest of us. "... This poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury ..." (Mark 12:43)

Saturday, June 04, 2005


Narcolepsy: A disorder characterized by sudden and uncontrollable, though often brief, attacks of deep sleep, sometimes accompanied by paralysis and hallucinations. I'm living through one of those times when you don't realize how tired you are. After a week of Bible Camp, I'm pretty much wiped out. I slept very well in my own bed last night. I should be rested up! But today I have had bouts of sporadic napping. When I fall asleep reading my favorite blogs on the internet, something is wrong. I took my family for a late lunch at Applebees this afternoon. I didn't think I was going to be able to make it home. I walked through the door, climbed into bed, slept for a few hours. Then I got up, spoke with my son for a minute (I can't remember what that conversation was about) ... Sat in my chair... Fell asleep for another hour. Even now while I blog I am barely hanging onto consciousness. One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." [Job 1:6-7] I do not think Satan suffers from narcolepsy. He doesn't ever seem to be taking a nap in my neighborhood. We might think things are really going great, but suddenly evidence of his work catches us by surprise. Sailing high on the spiritual winds of assurance, we catch our breath as we notice we are plunging. But with mighty power and angelic assistance, we are lifted back into the heavenly realms into which we were reborn. There is another who never sleeps and is never distant. O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. [Psalm 94:1-10] Thank you, God, that you are never narcoleptic. Even when my faith naps and lapses, your arms are there to hold me and keep me. Amen.