Saturday, March 25, 2006

updates

for those who have been following along, i thought i would offer updates.

my neighbors at the end of the hall are doing better. the husband has his old job back with the apartment community here and they have not come around asking for needs anytime recently.

my neighbor across the hall, while still being evicted, has found a new place to live.

zaavan and i continue with this cold that has plagued us for more than a week.

and of course, the party continues. please pray for us as i feel we are so close to exploding. in fact, i know we are. i have simply held back a bit in inviting people as i am not quite sure what to do with everyon who would come. of course, that is the lord's problem and not mine. i should not be holding back at all. i apologize for this. pray for us!
tessa
my sweet
i'm an idiot

Friday, March 24, 2006

gary coleman, todd bridges, conrad bain, and dana plato...

it seems as if there is no room to know god differently. there are a bunch of religions out there. and i think too often we, as christians, spend too much time trying to prove differences between the religions and why those religions aren't true. and there is a place for that. studying contradictons as we seek a life in conformity to christ and god and truth. but if we are to be TRUTHFUL, a scrutinizing look at the world wide practice of evangelical christianity also has much that does not square with scriptural teaching. so maybe it's not about one religion being better or truer than another. perhaps we just need to open our ears and hear what god would say to us, ALL OF US, today. perhaps if we allowed room for people to know god differently than ourselves, we would learn more about god and his true character and how he reveals himself in different ways and aspects to all of mankind and we could all get a more complete and accurate picture of a father who loves all of his children and is ever wooing us towards him with his kindness and love. all of the ones who would hear him, know him, love him, and obey him. not just people who would champion the "correct religion" and then FIGHT for it and WAR for it and HATE for it and BELITTLE for it. because in doing that... i don't see much of god or his spirit at all behind those actions. and i'm left to wonder whose side i'm really on. or which side i even want to be on.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

you do not want to miss this.

susan has graciously invited all of us over again. this time to study the book of romans.

somehow, i think this is going to be really good.

father, help us open up to you. to your spirit. to your truth. give us ears to hear and to heed whatever the spirit has to say to the church now. in our day. and our age. lead us into something so old that it is new. grace. faith. hope. love.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

two thoughts on jesus

i have had two thoughts about jesus recently. one about his life. one about his death. i thought i would throw them out there and ask for refinement or comments or whatever...

i wondered if god could really have a good basis for understanding what it is like to be human before jesus. and what i mean is that if you are god, and you know what man really is, (i.e. animated dirt), then it would seem a small thing to say "go and kill these people." not that he didn't feel the pain of people or that their deaths did not grieve him in a way. but that there would have to be an element in which god could not fully understand what it was like for those people who were on the receiving end of this.
then it seems as though things change once the word is made flesh. i wonder if when he was finally clothed in flesh and walked among us if it was not an eye opening experience. suddenly, "an eye for an eye" becomes, "NO! don't hit anyone. turn the other cheek. don't resist an evil person..." (now there's a command the church does very little with)
as if things came into focus for god in the flesh. THEN he could finally have full and complete knowledge of what was going on here. he took on flesh and after 30 years of practice, walked out the door to be a perfect example of a life lived that would please the father.

and at the same time, i contemplated the cross. and i wondered... is there an element of the cross in which god is not just being gracious to us, but also taking responsibility? is there not a sense in which the message of the cross is, "this whole mess is really my fault. i started it. and i'm going to finish it."

yesterday and the day before that

good times.
caution. bbq wieners can make you fierce.


sunday was amazing. it was everything i had always hoped a sabbath could be. the party began with worship at 10 am, and continued on throughout the day at the church building, and then back at our home later. it ended around 1:30am. nothing like a good 15.5 hours of fellowship to make you feel like you've really been at church!

but yesterday was a little different. first, we had an overnight blizzard and woke up to scenes like this:

and sometime during the night, our power had gone out for a couple of minutes. nothing major, but just enough to reset our clocks so that we did not awaken in the morning on time.
zaavan was late on his feedings and meds all day.
and there was a dark spirit about the home. it first affected erin and i causing us to have unexplained conflict with each other that made no sense to either of us. and later, the same spirit came upon tami and bryan when they came over. it was not good.

strange how after such great victories, we are at our most vulnerable. i think of elijah, who after just coming out victorious (well, god was victorious) in a confrontation with the prophets of baal, and rain has finally come to the land, and he has escaped jezebel yet again, he walks straight away under a tree to lay down and say, "I have had enough, LORD. Take my life..."

please stand with us in prayer that the ones who would seek to steal, kill, and destroy would not be allowed to do so.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

it was not as bad as i thought

i am not here to say "look at me, how super spiritual i am" or anything like that. i do not want this to be some street corner that i am showing off on. yet, i realize the benefit of giving modern examples of a life of faith and how i am living it. as such, i will offer up this one example to you and will not offer another one like this unless i feel so lead.

last week, on march 1st, on my first delivery of the day, i ended up receiving a surprise. when i got to the door, the woman was overly apologetic about the fact that the only tip she had was small and in change. i told her not to worry about it and that it all spends the same. she then went on to share with me abuot how her husband had recently lost his job after 27 years. the company had been sold and shut down. it was nothing personal.
"that's horrible." i said. in my head, i was saying, "do you mind if i pray for you?" but of course, i still deal with fear issues.

as i went back to my car i heard the spirit speak to me.

(do something.)

so i prayed.

(thank you. now do something else...)

what i rested upon after consideration was to give them a day's worth of tips. so, yesterday morning i drove up to their home and offered them. of course, the wife, debbie, did not want to take it. she felt bad about receiving help. (what does that say about our culture?) but i would not take no for an answer. i mean, debbie is right, we can't really afford it. but that's looking at things from the world's perspective. from the kingdom view, i don't see how we could afford not to. i mean, i know that we are taken care of. no matter what. it is a promise the father has made to us through the mouth of the son:
Mt 6:30-34 "...If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

somehow, some way, i know god will come through for us in whatever we need. he has promised to. if we are seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness. we are free to make that our priority. we are free to make that our occpation. for when it is, god has promised to provide for us himself.

lk 18:8 "...However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

please pray for dan, the husband, that he would get the job he is interviewing for in iowa.

finally!!!


after 3 and a half years of waiting, pearl jam is finally releasing a new record on may 2nd. for those of you who have not kept up with them, they are one of the best bands in the world. probably my all time favorite. they really resonate with me. in case you were unaware, back in 2000 after the demise of soundgarden, matt cameron (soundgarden's drummer) came on as the full time 5th member the band had never quite had. i do not think they held a drummer for more than 3 records. but now... my goodness. i don't even listen to Ten anymore. it's mixed like a glam metal record since that is what was big at the time. and it's depressing that they get treated like "classic rock" when they've never stopped. if you have the means, check it out. yet another reason to celebrate.
these gentleman are one of the main reasons i have a hard time believing that people must "accept christ" in order to be born again. nowhere else have i found a group of people whose lyrics over and over again put forth truth and a life lived by the spirit, and as far as i know, do so in ignorance. here's one juicy morsel that is one of my favorites:
"Sometimes"
large fingers pushing paint
you're god and you've got big hands
the colors blend... the challenges you give man
seek my part... devote myself
my small self... like a book amongst the many on a shelf
sometimes i know, sometimes i rise
sometimes i fall, sometimes i don't
sometimes i cringe, sometimes i live
sometimes i walk, sometimes i kneel
sometimes i speak of nothing at all
sometimes i reach to myself, dear god

Thursday, March 09, 2006

when was the last time you played tic tac toe?

deep in combat
bryan
tami


and again, they were waiting for me when i got home from work. i cannot tell you how much it just makes the day melt away to enjoy yourself and connect with others and build relationships stronger and deeper. besides all of the gut busting laughter again, one of my favorite moments from this party was during the time erin and i stepped outside to have a cigarette, tami and bryan(luther) took it upon themselves to play tic tac toe. "how fun!", i thought. i couldn't remember the last time i had played, but i always recalled it being a grand time.

it is good to see them having fun together and enjoying one another. it is good to see their relationship deepening together. i am glad to have the opportunity for erin and i to be ourselves openly and honestly and thereby strengthen another couple to see the triumphs and failings and the way we celebrate each other and go about resolving conflict with each other.

keep this sunday in your prayers as my two worlds collide together in a pizza/game party at my home "church." and pray for the 20th as well as we have an 8 person party planned for that day. i pray that things would go smoothly and the spirit would be unhindered.

one of my next great undertakings is to try to plan a "sleepover" where we can play something a little more intense like monopoly or risk or some such.

TAKE OFF THE CHAINS AND CELEBRATE! THIS IS YOUR BIRTHRIGHT!


much love.

a letter from my brother.

Hey Jon,
Some times I forget how you can notice and remember every nuance of a situation. (By the way, the lack of capitalization in your emailing drives me to distraction) The reason I say this is that I came to this understanding about fear and freedom about ten-fifteen years ago. God loves you and TRULY accepts all that follow him. If you are TRULY following God and trying to obey there will always be forgiveness. The rebelling is when you know something is wrong and do it anyway. That is when your conscience bothers you. If your conscience is clear and you are trying to follow God you are fine. The biggest revelation on this came to me when I realized each of us are given unique talents and are called by God to use them. Keith Green is an excellent example of working for God in a unorthodox manner. Most churches really have absolutely NO CLUE of how to foster and teach these things. They are forever trying to organize the talents of the faithful to accomplish traditional goals handed to them by denomination ideal. Instead of letting god choose the warriors and putting them in the correct spot. The hardest thing in the whole of religion is to not rely on things that are known,(churches, doctrines, money) and rely on things unknown, (God, because no one can fathom or truly know God) basically flying without an earthly net. Getting over this fear is the toughest of all and many people who go to church and do everything they can for God that they can find, never feel true freedom. Never show true faith. True faith gives such freedom that you cannot describe it, because it is just SOMETHING ELSE. Unable to be put into words, sooooo, never documented. It is the most wonderful feeling when that finally happens, but grow into an old comfort like a favorite pair of jeans. Then it has become tough for me to communicate about many things with other people in life. Because the things that they think are important, I don't care about at all. I really realized this when being interviewed by someone here at Darden they ask my personal goals. To get down under 200 pounds was it. God had already delivered everything that I needed beyond that. I have the perfect wife, the two children, food, shelter, clothing, and transportation. Materially I want nothing. That was a strange realization for me. Because when neighbors get fired up about property values and other things, I can't carry my end of the conversation because I just don't care about money and those other things. They hold NO value for me. Anyway, I understand what you have found, and am very glad. Continue to follow where God leads. Have we had the conscience discussion? If not, CALL me. It is too tough to explain without being able to ask questions and being able to answer.
Love everyone,
Nate

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

your intercession is needed

please pray for my neighbor, melissa. she is a single mother who has three children and is trying to turn her life around. she has made poor decisions in her life regarding men. most recently, she got involved with a guy who was involved with some shady stuff. as she learned this, she realized she couldn't be with him. one day, he was over at her place and wouldn't leave at her request. she had to call the police to intervene. as a result of this situation, and the police finding things this man had stashed in her apartment that she was unaware of, she has been evicted. she has until april 30th to find a new place to live. she has no idea where she is going to go. or if she may be going to jail or not.

pray for her as well as erin and i as we try to make a case for her before the management of the complex. pray that mercy and grace would rule the day and this sister would not be crushed under the weight of her poor decisions. please pray that god would move and bring glory to his name.

Monday, March 06, 2006

don't forget

today begins the study of galatians on susan's blog, a booklook.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

surprise party

(clockwise from bottom) tamiscus, luther, and debbie (luther's sister), and a partial erin
tamiscus and bryan share a moment
tami laughs while remembering something

there was a surprise party waiting for me when i got home yesterday. not in my honor or anything, but a surprise as i didn't know it was going to happen. a party that i did not organize. it grew out of the hearts of everyone else and they just needed to party so bad they came together on their own. a very nice way to end the day after 12 hours of work.

there were three great things about this party.
number one being the fact that luther had plans to play multiplayer halo with his friends, but instead decided to come over at erin's call to offer a party for the evening. think about that for a moment. this young man, a man of 23, decided in his heart that he would rather be at one of these parties THAN PLAY MULTI PLAYER HALO WITH HIS BUDDIES! (perhaps you need to be a young male enamoured of video games to know the magnitude of this. or maybe you just need to be the girlfriend of one.)
and secondly, luther invited his sister to come along. the parties have been such that luther felt it worthwhile, somewhere in his heart, to invite his sister to come and experience one as well.
and lastly, there were at least four separate occasions when the joy and laughter between us was so intense that most of us were red faced and could not breathe. the good kind of laughter. rare to even experience this kind of soul cleansing laughter once in a month, not to mention four times in four hours.

this is what i'm talking about. offering the kind of experience of the love, joy, peace, etc. of the spirit of god that it would cause a man to leave his HALO, and come. and in coming, invite those he knows to come along as well.

the kingdom is now. the party has begun. and i can only see this growing. pray for wisdom and freedom for the spirit to be at work. to bring healing to the lives of those who enter here. and to repair spiritual damage. to help bring them to a place where i can one day say, "you know all of this great spirit you've been enjoying? well, i have a confession. you've really been drinking the holy spirit. i know, it seemed like some other brand, but it has been the real deal. no lie. i know you have drunk some nasty foul tasting and smelling stuff people claimed was holy spirit. but this is it. this is the real thing. for you have tasted and enjoyed for yourself, and this is what i've been serving!"

names and faces keep popping into my mind of people i want to come to the party. friends, acquaintances. even those i see in the grocery store, or out and about. people who look like they could REALLY use a party.

which brings me to another thought i've been having.

for some reason, i got the impression in my dealings with "christianity", that it is a religion largely defined by NOT DOING things. yet, when i read scripture, i see commands to DO things more than i see the command to NOT DO things. and strangely, the things you are taught how to DO are really only the doing of things to help you NOT DO things.

and over the centuries, through this theology of NOT DOING, we have concocted rules for ourselves. biblically based rules, mind you. i understand why there are there. but at the root of it, many of these actual things are not in scripture. so we spend our time trying hard to NOT DO things that scripture has never asked and completely ignore much of what has actually and specifically been asked of us. for example:
i know why the admonition to "not masturbate" is so prevelant within the church. the whole "lust & the heart" thing. i get it. but yet, scripture never actually tells us to specifically not masturbate. we use that as a guide, as a measuring stick for moral upstanding and "biblical, godly living", but god has never asked it of us.
on a contrast, jesus HAS asked THIS of us:
Lk 14:13 "But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind..."

i asked myself a question, and now i ask it to you. let it penetrate and sink in.

did you spend more time last year "not masturbating" (something god NEVER asked of us), or throwing parties and inviting over the poor, crippled, etc.? (something god HAS asked of us)

join the party. do something else...

Friday, March 03, 2006

your assistance is requested

open you ears. open your eyes. open your heart.

as you go about you day to day life, i am curious to know where you hear the spirit speak to your heart and what he used to speak it. it helps me to compile examples to use in describing the kingdom in modern language.

most notably, what i am looking for is movies, songs, or television programs that just opened you up to some truth. it was not a "christian" program, but bowled you over with truth in some fashion anyway.

for example: how you saw the american pie movies and realized what an amazing tale they were about how to sort out your confusing sexuality and find the pinnacle and purpose in a committed, monogomous relationship comfortably. or how the song "i wish it would rain down" by phil collins was one of the most powerful songs of repentance you have ever heard and each time it comes on the radio you must turn it up and weep. or how last sunday's episode of american dad was one of the most truth filled half hours you have ever seen on television and why.

several more examples i can give, but not here, not now. i have to get to my place of employment.

just want you to keep it in the back of your mind. i am ALWAYS on the look out for examples of this. so whenevr you run across one, please share it with me. it doesn't matter the topic you leave the comment under. i'll know what you're talking about. thanks for your help in this. it will indeed further the kingdom.

moving right along

very excited for the 12th. have organized an event at my local church body to bring the more youthful part of that body together with those who meet in my home to have a more "party" oriented gathering. hope very much the two sides will connect and grow together. though i have fears...

many people have been hurt at "church" gatherings. i take these tender ones in my care very seriously and desparately hope they will receive warmth and acceptance to be themselves wherever they are at rather than having to sit through "evangelization" which can easily lead to a judgement session if not careful. and i know "church" folk can just as easily be on the end of the same type of judgement in the reverse fashion.

pray that these two groups can put things aside and just enjoy each other and the spirit would be unfettered to minister to each one just what we need.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

announcements

two things.
#1. - beginning monday, march 6th, susan is going to be hosting a study of the book of galatians on her blog, a booklook.

#2. - erin and i started a blog today dedicated to keeping people up to date with all things zaavan. it is called zaavan co.

the beginning

this, for me, i think, was the beginning of all of this. it is a poem i wrote back on 1.11.03 as a heart cry to express my frustration at living a life that looked so unlike the lives i wanted to model myself after. the true champions of the faith. so i thought i would share it and see if it says anything to you. dictionary.com links are available if you need them.


spurious and copius
this apathy and decadence
passing themselves off as humility and simplicity
when necessity is so small
when necessity is so small
and not even possesed by all

loquacious and gaudy but ultimately
stagnant and disingenuous
elusive heterostrophy*
one eighty is the goal
but i stop at a right angle
because at least i'm not wrong
or am i?

continuous enticement
appetites supressed to a degree
enough to delude, not enough to change
visual impairment
repaired, reblinded
and the final state is worse than the first

i want to hear well done
i must of needs then do
i need to do
i need to



*dictionary.com does not have heterostrophy in its database. the word means: "the state of being turned in a direction other than the usual one; an opposite turning"

sacrifice

to see where i've been and where i am going, i recently reread posts and comments from exfoliations. in doing so, i ran across this quote from tessa:

"God's presence is compelling. It compells people to leave their culture and heritage to this day. Like muslim converts jewish converts, hell even athiest converts are all severing pretty heavy ties to follow the Lord because the presence of God is compelling them."

and it got me thinking about those of us who were raised in the church.

do we think we are required to sacrifice any less?