Tuesday, March 28, 2006

the choice of simplicity

new to me blog that fits with our choices for simplicity. thought you might be interested:

Frugal For Life: 16: Festival of Frugality

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

So here we go

I have about 3 hours before my next interview. It's funny, when your interviewing for a job as a pastor it takes weeks and months. Meetings, committees, votes - even a test run at the pulpit. This should be relatively easy. I'm just trying to rest in my part in this - walk through the door.

I want to work, but at the job that God has for me. I don't think there's only one - but I think I could choose with the best of intentions and be "off."

It's like an exercise I've undertaken - to live in God's abundant universe. Most people assume that the universe operates in a scarcity mode. There's only so much stuff and if you don't grab all you can while you can - you'll miss out. It's just economics right?

But I think that God has created the universe to be a place of abundance. He is the Creator and Provider - it's in His nature. The problems come when we confuse our needs with our wants and when we assume that all of God's people will respond to His prompting.

It's not a "Name it and Claim it" mentality, nor is it confusing God with Disney's "genie" character. It's just that God loves people and if we listen to Him and live as he teaches us - there's more than enough for everyone - everywhere (ie 1/10 of the world's riches people would only have to surrender 1/10 of their riches to end global poverty!)

So my exercise is to write out things I am seeking - small tangible items (to record this notion of an abundant universe) It only requires I identify what I am seeking then to watch and wait for God's provision. Some stuff comes may never come - but I've got records to prove God provides (DUH!)

Anyway - Part of that experiment included me writing down a need/want for a santoku style chef's knife. I love to cook and so I wanted one to assist that hobby. I found one on significant sale and bought it. It was smaller than I wanted but it was good quality. A few months later a pair of the knives came to me as a gift. These new knives are wonderful and one is a ten inch blade.

All this to say that I'm not entirely sure if I should have waited - if God had permitted the purchase but had always intended to meet my need with the new set. Thinking about it hurts my brain.

Just pray I get to God's will in all of it- I know I'll be safe there, and it's all I want anyway.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Sorry if that's outside your box.

We moved to NB after a bad end to a great ministry. We were following what we truly felt was God's leading amid a very tough situation. We've been cobbling together a job here and there, getting funds where we can drawing on savings and counting on God for months now. It's just that the area has a limited pool of opportunities and there is a sense that we are "unknown" to many in a town where everyone is know (or even distantly related.)

"Making it," in a word has been tough - hope is hard to come by when your waiting and waiting and waiting. I've had interviews and these have translated to some work - but we've not had the "big click" so we've been hanging on and the thread is wearing very very thin.

Heidi had asked me to go and pay some bills with our one credit card (we're borrowing from ourselves - hoping that we won't have to delve into our little nest egg if we can get work soon enough to pay it all off by frugal living - debt is slavery!)

I tried - they told me that they can't accept that form of payment. I was stuck - no way to pay, no time to wait anymore. I came home and called on a job I'd interviewed for - the director was so impressed by my qualifications she'd asked the board to create a position for me. She told me they said "no."

I told Heidi, we cried - were at the end of our tether. We'd walked through every open door we could conceive of but we found ourselves stuck with nowhere to turn. In utter desperation we threw ourselves before God, complete with ashes on our faces - and cried out for help, we were at the very edge of our faith everything a huge question mark- Without hope or help.

then - God answered.

ten minutes later - the phone rang (no-it wasn't God - just one of his kids) with an offer for some work, then after I hung up from that call, the phone rang before I could get it back to the cradle, a second offer of work - longer hours, better rate - another company had just called the firm I was doing work for and asked for me BY NAME and they need me "ten minutes ago."

While I was out working, another call for yet one more interview and then the coup de grace for this pall that has hung over us for two months. A friend contacts Heidi - she'd heard of our plight and wired us some help - some resources to help us through. It was love disguised as money.

Not much has changed. We still need to dig out of this hole we are in - I still need capital "W" work, but something spiritual broke yesterday - I don't know what - but I felt it break somehow. I can't explain it - don't know if I ever will be able to - but I felt it in my spirit.

(Sorry if that's outside your box.)

Who is like our God?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Love wins

I had completed this Art piece months ago. I wanted to capture the notion that despite all of the hardship loving others can cause, in the end it is the singular truth for humanity. Love wins.

God used it today during worship in a way I was TOTALLY unprepared for. Peter asked a member of the congregation to close in song- but to just allow the song to be free form, to sing over us if you will. He did, and his words were to this effect: "The Fall of your life is over - now comes the spring." and "Love wins." He closed with an established chorus "Jesus friend for ever."

The intriguing part being the singer and I have never even met - he doesn't even know this art exists, nor did the phrase have any place or context in the "service proper" - it was a random, isolated comment. (there's more in the words but I'll have to wait for the MP3 to be posted to revisit them.)

It reminds me that God notices my creations and uses them - in my life and in the lives of others, my art matters to God. Some friends once told me that "as we trust our creative impulses - they become stronger." They are SO RIGHT!

Penso - Praesumo - Teneo!
(Ponder - Dare - Persist!)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Perfect is complete

I was reading

McNair's Blog

He mentioned L'Engel's comment on perfect meaning completion

Here's the first definition of perfect:
lacking nothing essential to the whole; complete of its nature or kind.

The authors of the NIV chose to use the word "perfect" several times. I took that and included the word "complete" in that spot in some verses. The shift in my thinking moved me to tears at times, read them if you'd like.

Matthew 19:21
Jesus answered, "If you want to be complete, go, sell your possessions and give
to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made complete in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 13:11
Finally, brothers, good-bye. Aim for completion, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

Philippians 3:12
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made complete, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Hebrews 10:14
because by one sacrifice he has made complete forever those who are being made holy.

Hebrews 12:2
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and completer of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Romans 12:2
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and complete will.

Matthew 5:48
Be complete, therefore, as your heavenly Father is complete.

1 Corinthians 13:10
... when completion comes, the incomplete disappears.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I heard my teeth clack together...

I was over at the University - doing some stuff in the basement. The old hand dug cellar beneath Clark Hall. As I began to walk up the stairs I struck the top of my head against the 8x8 beam above the stairs with such force that I heard my teeth clack together. I stumbled forward -dazed and rested against the steps - waiting for the room to stop spinning. I eventually went back upstairs (I don't know how long I was there) Once upstairs, I had one of the students tell me if both of my pupils were the same size.

I seem to be OK aside from a significant head-ache (maybe a mild concussion)coupled with stiff neck and shoulders - Tylenol helps.

S0 - for those of you advantaged in different ways other than height - remind yourself that while you may not be able to reach the top shelf from time to time, at least your head isn't struck on a regular basis.

I hope I'm actually typing this and not unconscious in a hospital somewhere. (JK)