I grew up in the woods of the Ozarks in Southern Missouri. A tree lives with roots planted in the earth and limbs lifted toward the heavens. I too am trying to grow deep roots while lifting my hands toward God.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Where am I?

I am now at
Hope to see you there....

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How's Your Network?

I am not crazy about Verizon Wireless but I do like their commercials. You know, the ones where the person's "network" is always right there where ever they go? Sometimes it is just nice to know who is in your corner looking out for you.

How about this for support? "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Romans 8:32).

Now, what do we have to fear? What do we have to lose? Who is against us that God is not aware of? Unlike Verizon Wireless, there are no "dead spots" and we are never out of range of His help.

The single most difficult part of that passage is really believing that God is for us!

Today, just say it whenever you need too: God is for me.

And then live like it and live for Him. We live because He lives in us.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Secret to Aging Gracefully

I am reading in 2 Corinthians this morning about the difference between the fading glory of the old Covenant brought through Moses compared to the glory of the new Covenant we have in Christ. Moses veiled his face so the Israelites wouldn't stare at the fading radiance that came from being in the presence of God. Then Paul concludes by saying "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the lord, who is the Spirit." (3:18)

Later, I am running, watching the sun rise with it's "ever-increasing" light and it dawns on me (no pun intended) that we as Christians always live in the sunrise of a new day that never fades.

Then I try to think of one thing on this earth that does not have a glory that eventually fades. Just last year the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series. This year they will not even make the playoffs. Their glory began to fade the moment it was acheived.

Can you think of anything on this earth that has an ever-increasing glory?

Only people, filled with the Spirit of Jesus, in the process of transformation, have a glory that is increasing. It is a glory not attached to our achievements or records or success, but to our submitting to God's work of transforming us into the likeness of Jesus. It is the glory of Jesus within us, the bright and Morning Star shining through us.

As I get older, the implication is that I should become more glorious. The longer I live the more I should be transformed into the nature of Jesus.

Maybe that is the secret to aging "gracefully." That by the time I am old and frail, I should be as full of the Spirit and glory of Jesus as I have ever been. That while I am "decreasing" in vigor and strength I am "increasing" in the glory of the Lord.

Feeling old today? Good! Becoming more glorious? Great! Thanks be to God for turning clay pots into golden Vessels.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Ultimate Protestant

"I am, I suppose, a difficult man. I am, maybe, the ultimate Protestant, the man at the end of the Protestant road, for as I have read the Gospels over the years, the belief has grown in me that Christ did not come to found an organized religion but came instead to found an unorganized one. He seems to have come to carry religion out of the temples into the fields an sheep pastures, onto the roadsides and the banks of rivers, into the houses of sinners and publicans, into the town and the wilderness, toward the membership of all that is here. Well, you can read and see what you think."

-Jaber Crow, Barber of the Port William Membership

by Wendell Berry

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hello, still here.

Testing, Testing, Anyone out there? Long time no blog. But I have been doing some great reading lately. Here are the titles that have kept me absorbed all summer:

The Suffering of God by Terence Fretheim. This will shake your foundations.

Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places by Eugene Peterson

Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis

Jaber Crow by Wendell Berry

A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken

On deck: Evil and the Justice of God and The Challenge of Jesus by N.T. Wright

Good books are such a blessing. Today I honor Mrs. Pruit and Mrs. Goss, my first and second grade teachers who taught me to read.

See Mark run. Cya later.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Reunions, Scabs and Scars.

Almost two months have passed since my last blog, which was actually written in June, 2005 but never posted.

It seems like I have been living my life in a car most of the summer. I just got back from Tennessee today and leave for Milwaukee in the morning. Sometime in between I had better do some laundry. I already checked my tomatoes.....still green, but getting bigger. I might pick one and fry it up.

Colleen and I was in TN attending a retreat at a resort on Kentucky Lake. This little gathering is quite unusual in that there is about 150 of us that annually make the trek for three days of fellowship, sharing, worship, food and fun. Jerry Jones started it 21 years ago and except for a few years spent in bleachers watching our children play some sport we haven't missed very many. We have forged some wonderful relationships during this time-relationships that have endured and blessed us in good times and bad and rescued us on those occasions when my sin left us and others on the precipice of destruction.

There is a very loose agenda to our time together. We pray. We sing (with Jerome Williams and Keith Lancaster leading we simply cannot stop). People share pain and joy. Some have lost someone close to them. Other's have screwed up their lives and come because they have no place left to go. Many have had wonderful years and come to celebrate. It doesn't matter, the microphone is open to all, and we rejoice and mourn appropriately. Acappella sings one night and the last night is a hilarious talent (or lack thereof) night. Jerry tells the same jokes, but we still cannot help but laugh. I treasure it because I always get to spend time with a man who is truly my Father in the faith, Albert Lemmons. I love him and his wife, Patsy dearly. They have a remarkable ministry of prayer and healing.

Brandon came for the last day and took Colleen back to Arkansas with him. I think she and Kim (Brandon's fiance') had some wedding planning to do.

That left me with six hours in the car to reflect. I listened to music. I prayed. More music. More prayer. I thought about how quickly 21 years had past. My life is not where I thought it would be. I am not doing what I thought I would be doing. I am not sure about my future and not real happy about the past. I have done some good things and some things I thought I would never do. The only real constant has been God, who has shown me unfailing love when I was nothing but unloving failure. I do know one thing: I love Jesus the Messiah more at this point than I ever have. He has rescued me from me and brought healing to those I love. He kept me alive.
I have scars-mostly self-inflicted ones. But as Albert pointed out, a scar is something to be thankful for, because it means the wound is healed.

I thought about that and I thought about the difference between a scar and scab. A scab can still be picked, it can still be painful, still bleed, still get infected and get worse. The more you pick at it the bigger the scar it leaves. A scab is necessary, it is part of the process of healing but it is not the final product. Only when there is a scar is one healed.

Find a scar on your body. I bet you can remember exactly how you got it. I have one from a hunting accident, a couple from motorcycles, some from surgeries, etc, etc. Each has a story, some pretty ridiculous. Imagine though having a scab for ten years....and telling people how you got it and why you keep picking it off. Who would do that? The body heals itself when it learns to protect the scab until there is a scar. As the body of Christ, do we protect our scabs or do we keep picking at them?

I am thankful for my scars. Some are really ugly. Some embarrass me and I want to hide them, but they serve as reminders to live obediently before God and try my best to never hurt anyone, including myself, again.

Amazingly, my God is scarred too. But, for the life of me, he cannot remember who gave them to him.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Blood moon

I saw a bleeding moon last night
Rising wounded in the eastern sky
Draped in mourning cloths of
Clouds and vapor,
Hiding in shame
Its pale glow giving it a dying face.

The moon will turn to blood before
The great and terrible day of the Lord.
Is it bleeding because it sees all in the darkness?
Or is it simply reflecting
What we do to each other?

I saw a bleeding moon last night
And for the first time that I can
I felt sad and afraid at the appearance
Of an old friend