Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Beyond my Comfort Zone

some days you call;
some days you beckon;
some days you woo;
some days you tell;
some days you order;
some days you push...

Today I feel you push
beyond my needs,
beyond my worries,
beyond my own troubles
into the lives of others.

Today's push from you
is beyond my comfort zone.
Today you are pushing me
to partner with others
and pray as part of my congregation's prison ministry.
Indeed, beyond my comfort zone.

By your push,
renew my conviction
that no matter who and not matter what:
"You are a Child of God,
and I will treat you that way."
May I live that out
with those in prison tonight.

So on this week that leads to Pentecost
and the gift of your Spirit,
blow in my life
your Spirit of calm,
your Spirit of truth,
your Spirit of compassion,
your Spirit of intercession.

May the words of my mouth
and the meditations of our hearts
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord our Rock and our Redeemer.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Gifts for YOUR glory.

I Peter 4:10-11
Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
it seems to be a lifelong quest:
discerning the gifts
you put in our lives.

And then discerning ways
to put those gifts to work
for your service.

The temptation is
to take the credit
for all the gifts,
all the words,
all the strength...

Remind us always
that all we have is yours;
gifts given to us
to use for YOUR glory.

May it be so
in my life

Friday, May 26, 2017

Joyous, Fun Faith

I Peter 4:7-9
The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining.
you know that
I take my faith seriously.
But sometimes I need to be reminded:
"Life's too serious
to be taken so seriously."

You intend our faith
to be joyous,
even fun.
I'm reminded of a picture of Jesus
I saw from a group called
"The Fellowship of Merry Christians."
It's one of the few pictures
I've seen of Jesus smiling,
maybe even laughing
There's a glint in his eyes
as if he's just told a funny joke.

Would that we had that same joy,
even fun, in our faith!

Love and laughter cover a multitude of sins.
Thanks be to God!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Judge of the Living and the Dead

I Peter 4:3-5
You have already spent enough time in doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry. They are surprised that you no longer join them in the same excesses of dissipation, and so they blaspheme. But they will have to give an accounting to him who stands ready to judge the living and the dead.

too much time is spent
in wasteful living...
excesses of wasted excesses...
And, Lord,
I'm not pointing my finger at others.
I waste the gifts you give me:
my time in idleness,
my breath in unhelpful talk,
my energy in worry,
my dreams in wishful thinking,
my power in defeated living...

Just as the lawless
will giving an accounting
to Jesus the judge
of the living and the dead,
so will I.

In what ways did I use
my God given gifts
for God's glory
in this day,
in this week,
in this lifetime?

help me be
a good steward
of your gifts.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Churches of the Dry Bones

Ezekiel 37:11-14
Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”

O Lord,
it was Israel's cry
in Ezekiel's day;
it seems to be the church's cry
in my day:
"Our bones are dried up,
and our hope is lost;
we are cut off completely."

Today the cry sounds like:
"How can we get young families
in our church again?"
"Who will take over these ministries
we've worked so hard to develop?"
"Why don't people come to Sunday school
or worship like they used to?"
"Why are sporting events allowed
to be scheduled on Sunday mornings?!"

The words are different;
the message is the same:
"Our bones are dried up,
and our hope is lost;
we are cut off completely."
speak again your voice!
Send us a powerful vision
like you did for Ezekiel.
Help us hear the Word of the Lord:
"I will put my spirit within you,
and you shall live,
and I will place you on your own soil;
then you shall know that I,
the Lord, have spoken and will act."
Your Spirit alone can give us new life!
We knew it once.
Send that Spirit upon us again.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Breathe on Me Breath of God

Ezekiel 37:7-10
So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

this song 
in my heart 

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Till I am wholly Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Dem Bones

Ezekiel 37:1-6
The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

you know how music 
moves and inspires me.
I cannot hear the prophet Ezekiel's
vision of the dry bones
without hearing
the Delta Rhythm Boys sing
"Dem Bones" linked here: https://youtu.be/hYeQUXXYvK0

so many days I feel like 
dry bones,
tired bones,
lazy bones...
I need encouragement.
I need good news.
I need help.

You are the One who knits together bones into a body.
You are the One who gives shape.
You are the One who gives breath.
You are the One who gives life.

take this bag of bones
and make me LIVE again
for your sake.