Friday, June 23, 2017

Stones of Remembrance

 Rock collecting was the theme this visit with the Solomon kids. They were both interested in almost any stone they found along the road. They really didn't much care what kind they were...the more the better.  So we collected a few rocks and washed them. As we put them out to dry...thoughts of my father came to mind.  When he knew that his memory was fading he would write on stones the memory of the days events. Simple messages of events and time  shared.  Nothing all that profound or wise in them selves...but that is just the surface of it.

I really don't know why he started but once Ed Brown started something he saw it to completion. I don't know if he thought of Joshua 4 and the stones of remembrance.   I have thought often in the months since his passing of those simple memories and of the memorial that those stones scattered among his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have created. My son told me he has coffee with Gramps every morning...with the stone that he keeps by his coffee maker.  They speak to a life lived deeply and with a grace that transcends this world's liminted horizon line. I think of him often, at times I am sure that I hear his laugh and hope that in some small way that his legacy lives on in this child of Adam.

that this may be a sign among you. When you children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord.

So often it is the accumulation of little things that bring us to where we need to step at a time.  In an age when change threatens to overwhelm us, I think of those simple stones of remembrance...that were gathered from the river bed of Jordan.  Or, those stones that my Dad gathered on any given day he was spending with his loved ones. They are powerful markers for the arc of our lives.  They give us hope in the times when we seem to have lost the path...and the way is steep with no rest on the immediate horizon.

What do they say?  That God is at work in our hearts even in the times when we feel as if we are a fallow field left without seed. God is at work in our hearts and minds and his plan remains for our our best.  We have a future and a call that is not limited by time, space or any other created thing.

Does hope endure in the real world?  Yes of course silly man.  God has not brought us this far to leave us here...this far from home. So move the foot forward....that's it the other one.  Until we see Him face to face one foot in front of the other. HOPENDURES.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Signs of Growth

2 Peter 1:2 NLT
May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
A good prayer to start the day is always good to keep the goal in mind that we are growing toward...and to know what ths signs along the way are.
If there is more peace and more grace then we are growing toward Jesus. Plan for the day:grow toward Jesus...toward the light...toward grace...toward peace.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

2 Timothy 2:19 NLT

But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The lord knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the lord must turn away from evil.”

The foundation is well built.  How?  By the birth, life and death of Jesus.

The plan for the day: is to remember who I belong to even when the miles tick away and the journey is not so much a destination as an ongoing process of change...hmmm dont get me started.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Advocates and Driving

1 John 2ESV
2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

Lord Jesus--It seems like you have to advocate for me a bit more than necessary. I guess I feel about this much the same as I feel about Sweet's view of my driving. That you have to do more protecting than necessary. 

Forgive me for that...the reality is that in this fallen world sin is something that we can either deny and avoid looking at,  or it is something that the clear light of the Holy Spirit can touch with regularity. Forgive me when I am in denial and just can't see it.  It is the prayer of my heart that you will speak to the Father on my me up when I have closed down and watch this wandering heart of mine. 

One my favorites pictures to think of you is this role of advocate...the picture in my head is of you standing next to the Father and whispering..."remember his DNA...remember that time when He really got it?  I know right now he is full of himself...but there was that time when I shined through him."  
Thank you for that picture...and that reality. Now truth be told it is more a legal term.  I am not sure why it holds such an emotional connection for me, but it does.  Maybe because of the simple yet clear realization that I am forever and only a sinner saved by amazing grace.

2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Lord Jesus--The tricky thing for me, is there is such power available to change and transform, but my tendency is to see this in personal terms and not dynamic ones.

Back to the driving theme for a bit... There are times I am sure when I act as if I own the road when really I am just a step away from being road kill. Hmmm, yes indeed, that is it. That is when there is need for an advocate...a spokes person...a defender.

3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.

Lord Jesus--So often my obedience depends on feelings, circumstance and setting.  I am not saying that is the way that I want it...but denial set side...

While I am in court, I am glad for the spokesmen but put me on the open road again,  I have a lead foot and I am wishing I had a radar detector.  What is that line..."prone to wander Lord I feel it." I wonder if that is tattooed to the back of my neck and I just don't know it. 

But you call me back again and again to the place of advocacy, the place of healing really. Your call continues which is a call to authenticity and grace.  In this day that is already started, remind me of your work and the road you have called me to.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Did I miss it?

I am reading through the Bible in a year this year. Now I didn't start on time and I am not really reading the the standard way. I am listening to the Bible on Youversion which is just plain an excellent app, not to digress. 

I am reading through the plan which has a gospel reading, an Epistle reading,  a psalm and a Old Testament passage. Now remember I am a pretty cognitive, grounded, right brain kind of guy. Put me in an art museum and I just don't get it, if it is anything other than Rembrandt. Now that guy could paint...ok, ok, Monet has it going on it. I kind of get him...

But even a right brain kind of guy like me didn't miss this when I saw it this morning. These two verses were right next to each other...

1 Corinthians 15
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God,who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
Psalm 93 

1 The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.2 Your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting.

So what do you think that God is saying, Kurt? And isn't it just coincidence? 

The lesson that I am learning in a variety of contexts is that God speaks in a many of ways...sometimes in what seems to be random events. 

After all who would have thought that just on the right day I would end up with just what I needed at just the right time even though I started late on the reading through the Bible thing. Only a God who pleasures in creating for us within the contours of our lives meaning, hope and grace would worry about such details.

His love continues to call us, even when the chaos of the world that surrounds us, seems to be overwhelming. The quiet call of his voice to our hearts contiues. He reminds us that he has victory over death and sin.  He calls us to stand firm in the middle of it all with his quiet incessant, insistent nudge to love like He loved, to live like He lived and to hope like He hoped.

Then we can even find the majestic in the middle of the everyday. He reminds us that He is sovereign even when in the intersection of faith and our world is a painful one.

Thank you Holy One for your victory and your Spirit's clear call.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Another Song Stuck In My Head

The Part Where You Let Go
When the rain, breaks the road
are you holding on, are you holding on
to your last good day
when the stone breaks the wheel
are you holding, are you holding on
til the stone rolls away

And I don't know
Is this the part where you let go
and tumbling out of a window
is this the part where you find out I'm there
for you

When the sun leaves the field
are you holding on, are you holding on
to the last sweet light
when the flame leaves your eyes
I still see you there, I still see you there
                                               on your darkest night.

And I don't know
is this the part where you let go
in sinking under a shadow
is this the part where you find out
I'm there for you now

As your hands breaking free
I am holding on, I am holding on
as you held on to me

And I don't know
is this the part where we let go
tumbling out of a window
is this the part you're there for me

And I don't know
is this the part where you let go
in sinking under a shadow
is this the part where you find out
I'm there for you
you find out I'm there for you
you find out I'm there for you

This song got stuck in my head. Has that happened to you recently? I hope so. It is one of the ways that I know that I haven't lost the ability to connect with the artistic...the mystery of it all. Now that being said, I have no idea why some songs get stuck and others just flow through my ears.

I wonder if it is something that I just need to hear at that particular moment in life's journey. I love this song. It is from my current new listen but this song has stuck. This is a song by Hem.  They are a group that has an almost cool handed way of presenting a song...almost a "listen if you want to...but I am not sure if I really care whether you listen or not."

Now, when a song hits me, it becomes the song that I push the repeat button again and I write this the song is playing in the background...."Is this the part where you find out that I am there for you?" Some lessons need to be repeated time and time again...

Now this song as you can see has some level of darkness to it. I am sure that you have picked up that it is a love song...but maybe not just another silly love song.

It is about about letting go of control, and of discovering that being there is the important part. Might I just suggest that these are two very important life lessons to be remembered.

 It could be about friendship...or even a bit of the spiritual and the mysterious Other that tracks our days.  I know I will make some of my friends nervous by referring to God as the mysterious Other.  But for all our seeking there is a level at which he is maker and we are forever the pot on the potters wheel, wondering about the maker. Knowing a bit...but still at times overwhelm by the wonder and the mystery of the Maker.

So often I want to keep things in neat categories of work, family, spiritual and secular...distinction that
art knows nothing of...and truth be told God doesn't either. Does God speak through a simple song? I hear him in the thunder and in the slippage of my tires on the ice on the road as I I guess I can accept that the songs that stick are saying something about me but also something about what needs to break through to me. 

From history on this kind of thing,  I know the the mingling of the things that I want to keep separate is always the beginning of a growth cycle in my life. Mind you,  it is seldom a comfortable process. So this little song that got stuck in my head and wormed it's way into my heart is telling me about the need to listen on more levels than I want allow myself to just sit with it a while and see what God has to say.  Maybe Emanuel is saying...

is this the part where you find out
I'm there for you
you find out I'm there for you
you find out I'm there for you...

Lesson learned is simple: listen on as many levels as mind, heart, soul and ears can, and just maybe through the listening the message will sink in.  It could be just another silly song..and then again...

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Winter Doesn't Last Forever

I am at the winter is cold but not cold enough to be fun.  It is wet but not wet enough to be useful.  Winter at about this time every year it just a drag. The storms don't seem to bring a white blanket anymore.

Right now, it seems like the snow comes down brown and dingy around the edges.  You are right this is depressing. When even the winter darkness surrounds me...there is the fire and a warm place out of the chill. 

This picture is from the Olde O'Brien Inn. Now why they put an "e" on the end of Olde  I have never figured out.  But I know that there are nights when this fire with a comfortable cup of coffee in my hand reminds me that winter does come to an end.  In June I will not want to be this close to a wood burning fire. Not to mention, that time continues it work on me and those that surround me.  There is the reality that hope, grace and God's work in my heart are not dependant on the season of the year so much as the seasons of the heart. 

Psalm 90:12-14

12 So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
13 Return, O Lord! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days

So a fire and a cup of hot coffee at times reminds me that God continues his work, there is satisfaction is following even when the winter is long and the snow doesn't even seem like it is all that white anymore. There is satisfaction in following and seeing God's steadfast love every day.