Monday, April 17, 2006

1 corinthians chapter one

it has been a couple of weeks since our study of romans. i have agreed to have you all tramp through here for a study of first corinthians as it provides an amount of temperance to the freedom we have been discussing. for any who have not participated before, chapter headings will be posted and you simply leave your thoughts on each corresponding chapter as well as any thoughts of others you may want to discuss or clarify. easy? you bet. one small change. instead of doing our breakneck speed of a chapter a day as we have done in the past, i will leave each chapter up for a few days before moving on to provide for more in depth discussion and development of ideas, as well as providing for those who cannot be here everyday to not get behind. groovy?

"when you hear this sound (bing), turn the page. ready? let's begin." (bing)

D-town, baby... D-town.

had a whirlwind of a weekend in duluth visiting my parents and friends not seen for anywhere between 5 and 13 years. was an amazing time. here is the story in pictures. all events take place within 24 hours.

dad, mom, and lake superior
can you believe this is less than a mile from where i grew up?
zaavan impressed
erin and carrie
the boys are back in form
dan "rowing" an ottoman across the dancefloor
dad, zaavan, and mom
my brother, everett, and i

Saturday, April 08, 2006

“Go and do the same.”

Jas 2:15-17 "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

in 2001 i went on a trip with my home body to a place called gleanings for the hungry. that's not the relevant part of this story, it just gives context. when we flew out to california, we spent the first afternoon in san francisco. on walking down the street in chinatown, we came across a homeless man. as we walked on past, his eyes met mine. more than anything, he had an overwhelming look of confusion in his eyes. a look of one who is lost and doesn't know what to do. no one else in our group even seemed to notice him. "oh lord", i prayed, "help this poor man. help him to find what he needs."

no sooner had these words left my mental lips than this scripture came crashing down inside of me like a ton of bricks. the hollowness of my words reverberated around and around my heart until...(CRACK). it was one of those moments. if you've ever had one, you know what i mean. i was instantaneously broken. wide, W I D E O P E N. stunned to the core of my being for a few reasons.
1. - i had always fancied myself a compassionate person. at this moment, i was made accutely aware of just how hard my heart truly was.
2. - i realized that even if i had attempted to do something, i truly have nothing. i had nothing in my posession to "fix" that man. if anything was to happen, it would have to have been god.
3. - and the most powerful part. as we were driving away, we passed the same spot on the street. this man was no longer alone. another homeless gentleman was helping him up. helping him to somewhere or something else...

that was the last straw. after seeing that, i was obliterated. this man who had stopped to help had even less to offer, materially, than i did. but offer all the same he did. i was not right for about twenty-four hours. silent. contemplative. broken. replaying the scenario. asking. listening. what could i have done? what do you want to show me? what would you have me do? and why would a group of "god's people" so bent on doing "god's work" pass it by on the street? was our schedule that important? do our plans make us unavailable to god in the moment?

since then, i try hard to listen to myself when i encounter a scene of this nature. i listen to the prayers that i offer as a knee jerk. when i see a homeless person. when i see someone stopped by the side of the road on the freeway. when i see a mother struggling with children and groceries. when i see a young mother in our parking lot crying and screaming because her boyfriend has just peeled out of the lot after throwing her keys into the dark, snowy yard leaving her, her 2 year old son, and her 7 day old baby out in the cold with no where to go.

i listen to my heart. how often my immediate reaction of heart amounts to..."hey god, someone needs help. pull through, old buddy. i know you can do it! i've got faith in you! i've got other, more important, things to do right now..."

Mt 20:32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
this, i think, is our only response. to stop, reach out, and ask these words. we would do well to follow our lord's example in such matters.

Lk. 10:36-37 “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

Monday, April 03, 2006

miracle grow

i know you all have bibles and are familiar with "the parable of the sower." (Mt.13:3-9, Mk4:3-9, Lk 8:5-8)

i have a question about this. do we have control over what kind of soil we are? and i mean this twofold. do we have control over what type of soil we are to begin with? and if we discover we are a soil we would rather not be, can we change that? or is it completely determined for us? any thoughts?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

back again.

wow. a whole week with no new posts. that's got to be some kind of record for me. but we have been having quite a conversation anyway, haven't we? again, thank you for engaging. i found it to be most edifying and encouraging.

not much new going on in my head this week. well, that's not true, but nothing to share and discuss yet. just wanted to share a pic from last monday when one of my oldest friends in the world joined the party. and let you know that i am indeed alive. probably more so than ever. which is good. he is increasing and i am decreasing. and i think that's how it's supposed to be.

dan and i