Friday, December 23, 2005

Prayer for a friend...

I had a birthday yesterday. Let's just say I'm on the "downside" of my 30's. I'm okay with it - it doesn't seem possible to me that I'm getting old, though there are reminders around me almost every day.

In a semi-related story - I got an e-mail from an old friend this morning. She's a few years younger than me and has just found a tumor of some sort the size of an apple on her thigh. It's pretty scary for her & her husband, and many of her friends & family have begun praying for them. It's strange to think someone so young (younger than me) and healthy (probably healthier than me) can be faced with such a health crisis. I pray God's blessing on her.

How do you pray in such a situation? I went through a crisis a few years ago and we prayed for healing. When my healing wasn't quick & "miraculous" there were a few who suggested I had some "hidden sin" that I needed to fess up to before God was going to work in my body.

I think it's right to pray a few ways. I ask God to heal my friend now. I pray that if that doesn't happen, God will be with her doctors and guide them in bringing her back to full help. I think the most important prayer I can pray is for her, not her body - "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I'm so ashamed...

But I can't figure out how to change the links on my blog. I know it tells me how, but I just can't seem to find what I'm supposed to find.

"Help! I need somebody..."

Monday, December 19, 2005

Doing the Most Good

I've been uncomfortable with the "pat yourself on the back" tone of this slogan since I first read it.

That said, I have learned the origin of it and feel a bit better about it. I understand it comes from a Booth quote along the lines of "We will do as much good as we can with the resources we have," as opposed to "We are doing more good than anyone else."

I still don't like it (because of the self-congratulatory innuendo) but at least I understand it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I'm Just Sayin'...

I just wanted to post this now and get it out there - I am a Seattle Seahawks fan. It's important that I say this because some big things will be happening soon - the Seahawks spoiling the Colts perfect record in week 17, the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl - and I don't want anyone to think I'm a bandwagon-jumper like so many new Patriots fans. Don't ask me how an Ohio-born, New England-educated kid ends up rooting for a team from the Pacific Northwest. There's a story, but I don't feel like telling it. I'll just say that at the age of 7 or 8 I decided I was a Seahawk man and it's been that way ever since. C'mon, Edge, show me some love and back me up on this.

Did I mention that Shaun Alexander will win the MVP?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Gut Check

I had the latest in a long line of gut checks today - the kind most in my line of ministry experience on a regular basis.

I ended up helping someone today that did not deserve my help. I was eager in the beginning, but by the end of our time together, it was obvious that he was playing me for a fool, doing everything he could to suck me dry before moving on to his next mark. I don't consider myself a fool, but I like it even less when someone else thinks I am. It was hard for me to swallow my pride, but I sent him on his way with more than he asked for, knowing he had won the battle. It made me mad.

A friend once told me that dying for God was something she thought she could do - it was living for God that really gave her trouble. I experienced a little difficulty living for God today. I know for some people this would be considered a very pedestrian incident, not worth getting uptight about. Someone is probably reading this thinking, "Is that as bad as it gets where you live? Man, I could tell you some stories!" But it's not so much about the guys issue, but my response to it. I pray I respond better next time. "He must become greater; I must become less." John 3:30

Friday, December 09, 2005

Anything Good in the Dear Old Army?

I'm not sure if anyone is reading this blog, so perhaps this is just a rant for my own benefit, but here it goes..

You don't have to go far to find someone who will tell you what's wrong with my church. In no particular order - we sell out for $/good PR; we wear funny uniforms, too often for the wrong reasons; we leave churches open that "should" be closed; we think too highly of our works; our leadership model is unwieldy at best, un-Biblical at worst; our local pastors move too often. I could go on...and on...and on.

I have some good news, though - there may actually be some good happening. People are getting saved. People who think all they need is a food basket are learning that there may be more to life. People (young & old) are finding loving, compassionate, welcoming souls wearing those uniforms, as intimidating as they might be. I know some of the men & women leading our movement and am convinced of their integrity, their whole-hearted commitment to the Lord God, and their unswerving devotion to the Church - not just our denomination, but the church universal.

I like honest, open-minded discussion. It's also important for me to temper that with the occasional reminder that, God helping us, there is more right than wrong with our movement.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

My wife had surgery yesterday to remove an organ she apparently doesn't need anymore. It's not just her that doesn't need it - I'm told that if you live in "the West" our food is such that the digestive function of the organ is more or less obsolete. Since she had some problems with it, the surgeon said she was better off without it, since she had nothing to gain but trouble by keeping it.

I've been thinking recently about things in life that may be "permissable but not beneficial." Sometimes things would be simpler if everything were spelled out for us in neat, easy-to-read prose. But we know that's not real life. There's a character in the movie "Jurassic Park" who, when speaking to the "mastermind" behind the genetially-engineered dinosaurs says something like, "You spent all this time trying to see if you could (engineer the dinos) that you never stopped to think if you should." Seems like a wise thought to me. If one's got nothing to gain but trouble by a behavior/action/habit, it's probably better to get rid of it.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Jingle Bells

This Christmas Jessica & I have the opportunity to have my Mom & Dad with us to help with our Salvation Army Christmas effort - kettles, food & toy distribution, maintain sanity at home w/ our kids, etc. After nearly 90 years of combined SA service they have said "goodbye" to their new home on the Gulf Coast of Florida to spend December in central NY - only the love of a parent would make a decision like that possible!

I'm struck (again) by my parents commitment to ministry. As I look on my parents from the perspective of a son, I also admire time-tested "missioners" as a young pastor, and am amazed at how God is continuing to work in their lives. I pray that I may follow in those footsteps. They have raised up their children in the way they should. May we never depart from it.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Through the Wardrobe

What I hope will be a great movie, based on a great book, opens in a week or so - "The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe", the 1st in the Chronicles of Narnia series. I feel a little like the Pevencie kids as I start this blog - walking into a wierd, unknown world. Don't know how much I will have to say, but let's see how it goes.