Posts Tagged ‘love’

Puppets & Jellyfish

Last week I sat down to watch “Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9″ with my kids, and I was kinda blown away. Here, condensed into a 40 minute children’s puppet movie (with quite a bit of humor), was a potent message. Not just a good message. I mean – take all the current spiritual living, devotional, God/Christ-centered literature that has come out in recent years – this movie will summarize a large percentage of it.galaxybuck

(spoiler alert)

Buck works in a call center for a large ministry, and is discontent because the poster on his wall constantly reminds him “God wants you to do BIG things!” He feels like he’s not accomplishing what God wants, and gets excited when there seems to be a chance. Things go awry, and he finds himself bummed again. Then, in the subterranean levels of an alien planet, he meets someone who rips his goal apart. Literally. He takes Bucks’ poster, and rips it so that the words left read, “God wants you.” I asked my 10-year-old daughter the next day what the message of the movie was about, and she answered clearly the same thing: “God doesn’t want you to do big things, as much as God wants YOU. You’re not a shark, you’re a jellyfish caught in the flow of God’s Love.”

The obvious push-back to that is: “That sounds like an excuse for laziness, and not trying anything.” Certainly it could be manipulated into that. But when we allow ourselves to exist fully in the flow of God’s Love – we have to trust that WILL call us to be actively offering ourselves fully toward the mission of lives, community and creation transformed.  But our activity doesn’t begin with us setting a goal of “accomplishing great things for Jesus”.  It begins with us relinquishing control of everything in our being, into the great Love of God.  That may mean we accomplish great things by the measures of this world, or that mean we lose everything and all noteriety for His sake.

The first step?  Allowing the truth of that ripped poster to sink in.  “God wants YOU.”  Not because of your gifts or talents.  Not because of your heritage.  Not because you’re specifically poised to accomplish what no one else could ever do.  Not because of your purity.  But because He Loves you.  Fully and completely, and without reserve.  Just as much when you were making horrible decisions as He does today.  Most of us have been loved wrong by a human in our lives, and it messes up the kind of love we even see as possible.  So let the love of God sink in a bit, and then release yourself to it.  There is no greater place to exist, or calling to walk forward with…

For more on covenanting with God to do/be whatever He wants, check out this modern version of the “John Wesley Covenant Service” I’ve written for use in a church setting.

For a few words on God simply desiring/loving you as His child, here’s a Spoken Word I recently recorded.

of bricks and curtain

Calm before storm, softly lit trees in dim living rooms
Like tombs of years gone before but passed, too fast to grab hold,
Scraping off the mold, like flakes of gold left behind by memories stored longterm
Knocking back the worm you’ve finished the glass waiting to be poured,
Ignored by others, your sisters and brothers but left behind for you to wait, to contemplate,
To exist in a state of mind promising not to bind you to what was, and less thrilled by what is
But this – moment that points to what will be. As still framed artwork from empty hotel tells you
This is the same in every room, every womb that carries expectant moments of hope
For those facing end of rope, for those with unpaid bills, unclimbed hills, or scars from falling down
Look around and find you’re not alone, not abandoned to roam as sea foam washed up on
Empty beaches, previously filled, children laughing at will, sun spilling through the shade of clouds
Too weak to intervene – and somewhere in this scene, you recognize the obscene thing
Is not to have hope, to try to cope, nor is it offensive to be burdened or feel uncertain,
behind the curtain, to to be hurting or elated, you are not fated to endure these moments solo,
To know there are plenty just outside, waiting for curtains thrown wide in invitation
Just waiting for relation’s sails to unfold, ship catching old winds
and launching into waters, departed to places uncharted but together, weathering whatever.
If only all would sever the binds toward such endeavors, instead of cleverly arranging
mortar and brick, in order to trick others into staying just outside their reach, impeaching friendship as a sail not worthy of raising, tasing those who try with shock waves of pride and cold shoulders, boulders way too heavy to entertain, strained to points of breaking simply by taking the chance on the uncertain, and trying to know the you behind the curtain.
So rise up from your position, wishing to be known but sitting on a throne surrounded by carefully crafted kingdom of silence and control, take a stroll through the eyes of someone who wants to know The ways you grow, so show the extro-version, the side you’ve tried to hide,
slide back the door, or at least trade brick for fabric,
A trick which allows you privacy but still parts the way
When seasons sway you toward a day where all seems lost, and cost seems too high
Hope embossed on invitations sent to everyone but you, to do that thing that seems with ease,
Locking your knees, pretending all is fine on center stage,
but with age those dog-eared pages of behavior lose their truth
The proof discovered on the shoulders of others you’ve allowed behind the curtain
I knowing thou, world seeing just how there might be hope for them as well
As swells of hope the waves crashing on shores around, surrounding and flooding
Where you live, the best gifts to give come unwrapped and ready, a steady flow
Of willingness to know and be known, your light shone and self shown
Pulling back covers, recognizing sisters and brothers where previously called “others”,
Remember that knowing a name is not the same as knowing person,
Clicking like is not making a connection, on deeper inspection we find souls thirsty
To interact, to shed the laugh tracks of hundreds to hear one genuine response,
And you – can be a first responder, the first to ponder,
On the scene, showing just what it means to be less obscene in our culture of obscenity,
To not accept the serenity of status quo, simply adding to the flow of what it means to know.
Pull back the curtain, but first your own, letting it be known, we are all wizards on tender thrones
Groaning beneath the weight of creating an image we know can easily shatter
So do something that matters, unfolding sails meant for winds of change,
No matter how strange it may seem, engines filled with steam gleam with polished potential
Powers elemental to our being, much more freeing than scrolling down with feigned elation,
Soften your heart, and set sail your ship to true relation.

Political Climate

As we walk forward, toward the unknown we begin to roam in new altitudes,

and attitudes mixed with platitudes have begun to make it hard to breathe

the hot air just a little too thin, sunlight begins to dim and I realize

I’m in flip flops stopped at the bottom rock looking at the top of a mountain I’m unprepared to climb.

And I’m here today to say, I think that’s okay.

Because this is Mount Political Climate.

You may have noticed a slight decrease in temperature because it’s cold

A system way too old for anyone to question, we’ve steam-rolled the bold ways of discovery

And fell deep into the well of “this is how it’s been done”, and the sun continued to rise

so our decision must be wise. We disguise the misguided attempts at others to deconstruct

Those who might call it corrupt, because they’re simply outsiders, underperformers,

Unprepared misfits who couldn’t handle the climb

But it’s time those of us not clinging to the ledges to look up

And realize what we seek, might just not be the peak

Of Mount Political Climate.  Refuse to Climb it.  Walk Around.

Walk Around.

The sounds should astound us at first, like a thirst that’s unquenchable

Things unmentionable aired out for public consumption, because that shows gumption

Whatever that is.

And the fad is growing to start showing your opponents weaknesses before they get a chance

To show you with your pants down.  The town meeting ignores the fact that

you’re running to be a leader,
Because deep down, they’d rather be amused.

A in the negative, Muse meaning to think, we are a people not thinking

While our patterns go on stinking and bringing about change in ways

we never would’ve chosen On purpose

Getting nervous as we’ve only scratched the surface

The fact is, we deserve this type of leadership, because it’s only a megacosm

Of the micro we live every day

As we live to get paid, and sway situations to shine the sun on our day

I wanna get mine and protect it, and keep others out so they can’t infect it, but don’t try to inspect it,

because – like I told you, it’s mine.

My Mountain of Political Climate.  Refuse to Climb it. Walk Around.

Walk Around.

And so we’ve found that sounding an alarm might just do some good

And it could shake you and I away from what would, toward what should happen, as we’re mapping new routes

As we refuse to climb the foodholds set before us, though others may ignore us, or abhore us,

Our voices join in one chorus,

That healing won’t come by name calling, health is not built by a wall, and one sure way for us all to fall is to try and stand so tall everyone else seems small.

The ball is in our courts, to call our courts to once again view the human in their being.

To start seeing names instead of numbers, to welcome new comers to the table, and perhaps rising above all political noise, is the silent necessity of, Love.

The hidden wealth of nations is not found in vaults, or in banks.

That Power is not found in muscles, missiles and tanks.

That Happiness not found in tickets to Disney and apple pie.

We must go beyond a simple cry for change, and embody what we hope

Facing the ends of our rope, we come together, tethered to something greater than ourselves

Dusting off the shelves of a room we knew well when we were young

Before we became so high strung, and the songs we sung were a lot more inspiring

Not conspiring for one to rise, but to ignore such lies and seek the good of all.

Because, humanity, united we stand, and divided we will fall.

But it’s a Mountain, this Political Climate.  Refuse to Climb It.  Walk Around.

interrupted..

There once was a church in a place far away

They were proud as they entered the church every day

Every time the doors opened, they’d fill up the pews

And when burning bush talked, they’d remove their shoes.

They shook hands with love, and greeted each other,

When having a meal, invited one another

They’d pray for the people, who never came in

They’d pray for their budgets when wallets seemed thin

This lovely old church found so far from here

Their singing of songs was lovely to hear

Always on tune, and always on key

They were often mistaken for those who sang professionally.

One day in this church, found so far from here

A young man came around, who’s purpose wasn’t quite clear

He sat when they stood, making some of them nervous

Just what was he hiding, beneath the surface?

A task force was formed, to follow the lad

To observe his actions, and judge good or bad

They listened and watched, and saw what they thought

He cussed and he drank, he stole and he fought

This task force reported, next gathering time

Something had to be done, this was crossing the line

A decision was made, to proclaim with some flair

The next time the young man attended for prayer.

The scene was all set, and parishioners waited

As the young man approached , the moment seemed baited

The line had been cast, and the hook was quite clear

But they hadn’t expected just what they might hear.

Their pastor began, “Lord thanks for revealing,

The ignorant ways of those who are stealing,

Those who are drinking, and those who do curse

Are like crumbs at the bottom of a grandmothers’ purse.”

“Thank you that we are not like those without,

without reason to live, so much reason to doubt,

They think they are happy, they think they are fine,

They think they can see, but are completely blind.”

“So God we are thankful, we aren’t like those people

The one’s who have never even been under a steeple

They don’t know the words to each chorus we sing

They don’t know your Word, Lord they don’t know a thing.”

“Thank you for making us so good and wise,

We invite you to look on us with both of your eyes,

To see the incredible things that we’ve done,

To honor your ways, and to worship your son.”

The words had been spoken, and they were assured

By their holy speaking, he’d see Christ as Lord

He’d cry at their altar, and they’d smile when

Eventually he would become just like them.

But we shouldn’t be shocked at this point to find out

It wasn’t their words that turned him about

He wasn’t moved by their spotless approach

And didn’t seem to desire them as coach.

He ran to the altar, that place of their pride

Fell down on the floor, with his arms open wide

They tried to keep singing, as planned from the start

But they couldn’t keep from being warmed by his heart.

He prayed, “Oh God look at me, stumbling along,

In need of your mercy much more than a song,

If you don’t respond, I’m not sure what I’ll do,

But I know that if I’m to make it, I need grace from you.”

With that he bowed, and tears ran like a stream

So much that the altar had started to gleam

The people were taken by such a sight

And felt like maybe they weren’t doing alright

The way this young man, depended on God

The way that his tears at first just seemed odd

Reminded each one of the early days spent

Receiving forgiveness as they would repent.

And so one by one, these people came up

As those who’d been emptied, uplifting their cups

Not for his approval, or seeking his prize

But simply to be seen by the loving Father’s eyes.

Revival had come to that morning at service

Though it came in a way that makes you and I nervous

To let go of all our reasons we stand,

Our trophies, our titles, and empty our hands

To throw ourselves down, at his Mercy seat

Father, Son, Spirit, whom washes our feet

Our tears may flow also, as we receive love

So undeserved, and so free from above…

language of (new) creation…

Anyone who has spent time in a land where a different language is spoken knows just how much it can impact your daily existence – even in small ways that add up.  It made me think about something bigger…

There is an ancient language, that has always existed.  Long before we could measure time itself, this language brought order to chaos and spoke form to formless.  The language was shared by both creator and creation, but it didn’t take long before the language was forgotten by those created to speak it into and over creation.

It was the language of love.  The language of life.  The language of new.

The language of God.

The brokenness in what was intended to be natural communication caused pain.  A father whose children no longer knew what it meant that they were loved infinitely and intimately.  These children pursued other sources of identity and value.  So He “called out” a people and enabled them to speak this language with Him.  It was meant to be a living illustration for all peoples, of what life could be like with these new ancient linguistic capabilities.  Finally, the world was ready, and He came down to tear down the walls of silence separating those who could not speak or hear.

The Word was for all.  Some chose to listen, and not speak.  Some chose to speak, and not listen.  Some misunderstood, for the words they heard were not the ancient Word, but merely poor imitations of those who’d grown able to repeat what they’d heard, but had no idea how such grammar functioned.

Yet God continued to hear and speak, and this ancient language was changing lives and bringing redemption to brokenness, light to darkness, love to emptiness, and hope to hopeless.  It is the whisper of a space and time where such language will be the ONLY language spoken by all.  Many have heard the proclamation that such a time has arrived even now, and have begun to speak that way.

But such language was foreign to the self-centered dialects that had been established over time.  As the people aware of this ancient tongue go out speaking the language of New Creation, they grow tired of the constant need for translation and surroundings that don’t seem to understand.  So regularly, these New Creation citizens gather together for encouragement.  They celebrate by joining as one voice and hearing from God, and go out with a renewed commitment to help others recover the language they were born to speak.

Unfortunately, some have allowed such gathering to become the purpose and goal of the language.  We are reminded that the purpose of language is to be spoken.  The purpose of this ancient transforming love and life-giving language is that it would be heard and spoken by all.  It is the language of New Creation.  The language that will transform your home, your community, and our world.  The language of Love found in the life and Words of Jesus Christ.

These words may not always make sense to the language our world has learned to speak.  These words may look foolish.  But they are Love, in ways our creation was made to receive ages ago…and will one day again fully.

Will you hear the Father’s love today?  Will you speak? Will you join with others who need the encouragement of your presence in such endeavors?  You are invited…

 

 

SHOCKING TRUTH that ALL remaining candidates have in common…

As the pack of candidates thin out, more investigations were made possible.  CIA, and FBI, and MI-6 all have these candidates on their radar, and yet each of them might still be unaware of the shocking truth being revealed today.  Ready for the bombshell?

Each of these candidates is beloved by God.

Gasp.  I know.  It’s true.  They each find themselves shoulder to shoulder with those God has smiled on, and loved enough to enable to bear pointingHis image.  That has important implications for how we are to respond to each of them, and how we might also need to repent of how we’ve responded so far.  The fact is, most political races end up having ugly moments.  A few bits of name calling, and an accusatory tone here and there.  But let’s confess – no matter who you’ve supported or disavowed – this race has not brought out the best in us.

 

Read the words of 1 John chapter 4, and you’ll quickly be reminded that one of the marks of the church was their love.  The response to what is happening in our world is not fear or anxiety, but love.  It is not anger or retributive violence in action or word – but love that will help us to stand out as God’s “image bearers”.

Does this mean we have to embrace all possible leadership candidates with flowers in our hair, and let anyone take the oath who might be interested?  No.

But it does mean we are careful with our words and actions (and retweets).  It means even as we examine policies, determine who might best lead us forward, and discuss these things with others – we are careful to realize even as we critique the lives of others, our lives are being noticed by a world who wonders “Does Jesus make any difference in the lives of those who claim Him?”  The answer should obviously be – YES!

How often have we genuinely prayed for the candidates we disagree with?  Each of these brothers and sisters of ours is under extreme pressure and in a national spotlight.  With very little regard for personal privacy, and with every word they speak or write being critiqued and examined under a thousand unloving microscopes – they need our prayers.  These are mothers, fathers, and grandparents who have entire families who celebrate with their victories, and mourn with their losses.  No matter what happens in 2016 – each of these will go on to laugh and smile at children’s birthday parties, and shed tears at funerals of loved ones.  May we not buy the rhetoric that reduces ANY of them to a 2-dimensional caricature, in an attempt to make it easier to treat/view/speak of them as less than someone loved and valued by God.

1 John 4:20 – “Those who say ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”

Luke 6:27 – “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”

Ephesians 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths (or typed/liked/retweeted by your fingers), but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Of course, the list here could go on – especially highlighting the life and words of Jesus himself.  As we continue forward on our journey through Lent this year, we are offered an opportunity here.  May we choose to respond humbly, repenting of how we might have misrepresented the love of God, and offer ourselves to bear His image anew…

 

ps. If your first inclination is to defend unloving words, citing scriptures where God or Jesus showed their anger/disapproval – you may be missing my point.

 

Mt. Political Climate

I don’t have all the solutions, but I know change is needed. The way our political system encourages unhealthy competition, unnecessary spending, and berating brothers and sisters who desire the same things – we need to walk around it.

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