Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lean into Joy

I long to lean into joy
To practice gratitude
Taking note of blessings
And dwelling on thanksgiving

To become a glass
Not as now, half empty
And not even half full
Instead, spilling over the rim

To walk away from dread
To run from the shoe drop
Living in the joy of each moment
Where simple things become defining

To truly feel adequate
Knowing that I am enough
The illusion of perfection a destroyer
Seeing myself through Christ’s eyes

Cast far away the falsehoods
Being vulnerable and real
Accepting my quirks and uniqueness
And loving others for the same

So when the little joys of life
Spring up before my eyes
May I vanquish the stormy thoughts
Seeking to steal away these precious gifts

And when a heart of gratitude takes over
Then thanksgiving will begin to flower
Fearful heart will gain new strength
And the enemy’s lies will fall on deaf ears

So God please hear this fervent prayer
And grant this heartfelt wish
That I might become a man of gratitude
With thanksgiving in all that comes my way

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Let Your "Merry Christmas" not just be a "Happy Holidays."

Just sitting here thinking on this gray and wet Fall day. Setting my mind up for the day. Going to church and then later, taking Alyssa to her praise team practice where they are preparing for several Christmas program presentations. 

Several thoughts are still bouncing around in this brain of mine. Thoughts that occurred to me as I enjoyed going to the 2nd annual city of Eastvale, CA tree lighting festivities last night.

The first and foremost thought that hit me last night, was how great it was that I have so many wonderful friends! We were fortunate enough to share some special moments with some of our friends from our Bible study small group last night and I was greatly encouraged by the meaningful conversations I had with a few of them. Friendships are some of our greatest and often undervalued treasures. Let's all take some time this year to remember and cherish those we care about. Let's remember that though this time of year is filled with fun and fellowship, it is also a time that can be difficult, stressful, and lonely for many of those we know. Let's take the time to do more than just the casual hello and do what it takes to lift each other up and show the love of Christ in whatever the Holy Spirit inspires us to do.

The second thought is this: As I listened to the music programs that were highlighted last night at our church sponsored festivities, it was not lost on me that at the end of each performance, whomever was the spokesperson for the performing groups made sure to wish everyone "Happy Holidays!" Though I fully understand that there are those who do not believe as we Christians do and though I also understand that there were possibly verbal agreements made to avoid any references to Christ since the event was setup for the city of Eastvale, the last time I looked at our great country's constitution I was under the impression that we still have freedom of speech and freedom of religion among other things.

Let's face it, if there were no celebration of Christ's birth at this time of year, is it possible that there would be some other winter holiday festivities? Yes, it is certainly possible. However, that is not the case in reality. The reality is that the primary celebration of this time of year is Christ our Savior's birth. I for one will not stop saying Merry Christmas. I am not ashamed of my Savior or what this holiday is really about. The gift giving and the myths set up around Santa Clause are not bothersome to me, though they can certainly be distracting . For those of you who choose to stay away from causing controversy or rocking the boat over our beliefs, you are free to do so. Just keep in mind that Jesus did stir it up when he walked among us and that he did say that we would suffer for bearing the mark of being his children. Let us continue in courage and without shame in speaking about his love and showing our allegiance to something far bigger and much more important than being politically correct. Let us enthusiastically say "Merry Christmas" since it is for that reason above all else that we celebrate this time of year. Be strong and courageous!

I am heading back to work tomorrow after spending the last two plus months on a leave of absence. If you are a person of prayer, please lift me up as I get back into the work groove.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Where Do We Stand?

Where Do We Stand?
Though my body lies here
Beaten down, bruised, and sore
Though my heart quakes
And, my chest is heavy with fear

I hear echoes calling
Whispering quietly to my soul
Waking slumbering hope
Gentle hand lifts fallen chin

You raise my tear stained eyes
To look on your kind face
Compassions’ gift in your every word
Falls on my ears like rain after a drought

Gently lifting me to my feet
Arm slips under mine and bears
The weight of all my fears and cares
Guiding me forward through life’s storms

How lost this heart, from wandering far
Seeking for the misplaced piece
To fill this God shaped gap
A piece once placed and then left behind

Sorely missed now and longed for
I know you are close at hand
For it is I, not you that strayed
Your promise never to leave, unbroken

So now I ask for you to step back in
And assume your rightful place
Upon the throne that I usurped
And I once again at your feet

At your beck and call
A foot soldier and standard bearer
Strengthened by your promises
Both fulfilled and yet to be

Your kind eyes shift to fierce
And you call out your marching orders
Call me to courage and standing strong
Asking me to overwhelm fear with prayer

For you see, when I look back
Across the length of my memories
There are alters there
Monuments to your faithfulness

For my faith in you my Lord
My savior, redeemer, and friend
It has never been misplaced
When my hand has slipped into yours

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Higher Mammal

Higher Mammal  – June 26, 2012

Where are the heroes?
What happened to the brave?
Courage seems too rare
Honor vanished and gone

Moved by nothing
Except selfish pursuits
We throw away eternity
Sell it for finite possessions

Seek for security in a job
For peace in a home
For love in a significant other
Eyes on all but the creator

Settle for the mundane
For life with no adventure
Predictable days with little risk
And for nothing to aspire

Don’t believe in the eternal
Nothing but a higher mammal
Born, learn, breed, and die
Hope but an abstract thing

Never asking why there’s a hole
At the center of our existence
Never filled and never satisfied
Always left wanting

Somehow blinded to our need
Believe ourselves good and yet
By what standard are we measured
A deep question for a mammal

Wake up and look back
Over a life gone by
Wondering where did it fly
Terminal existence pricks us

Searched for answers
But rejected them all
Grave causes desperation
Hope waking in renewed thought

Start the questioning again
Creator waits and is unafraid
No question being stupid
With eternity on the line

A toast to the seekers
For those who seek truth
Unsatisfied with weak humanism
They find truth in one so named

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Lazarus Journey

Hard is the road
To where a new future begins
Narrow the path
That leads to promises fulfilled

Can’t reach my destination
On the strength of a broken heart
So many dreams died along the way
Not sure if any remain

My hope lies barely breathing
Like the flutter of tiny wings
Clinging to life by finest thread
Who will dare to save me?

Does anyone get me?
Does anyone care?
Does anyone want me…
More than what I can provide?

Maybe I want more
Than what any human can give
Maybe my hearts longing
Can only be filled by my maker

Though I wish nothing more
Than to leave this pain behind
Though I’d rather be
Far away on the other side

I am deeply committed
Heels dug in and clinging tight
To the promises You made
My Savior and friend

No other has been so faithful
No other has in every moment
Through joy and sorrow
Been ever at my side

For now I know you carry me
My faith but a tiny thing
Put to shame by a mustard seed
Praying your faith replaces mine

An empty vessel
A lump of clay
I lie here
Awaiting your strong hand

Awaiting the artist’s touch
The old man ready to die
Sacrificed my longed for son
At your blessed request

Restore my dreams
Breathe life back
Into these dry bones
Call me back from the dead

For my very marrow cries out
For your presence
To call my heart your dwelling
To cleanse every dark corner

For now dear friend
I wait quiet in the night
Anticipation my companion
And a new dawn approaches

Understanding Forgiveness is a Long Journey

Pardon my sarcasm
Forgive my lack of p.c.
But where would we be
Without the curious?

Want me to just conform
Kowtow to your ways
But I look in the mirror
And no lemming do I see

Pardon my French
But, you’re a follower
Nauseatingly gullible
Intellectually dishonest

Follow the tides
Of popular tripe
Winds of change come
And you’re long gone

Say I’m a fool
Call me anachronistic
A freak following
Nothing but a lunatic

Many ways to God?
You say it’s true
But everything can’t be
Wind carries away the chaff

One day holy fire
Will leave only the pure
Absolute truth standing alone
All that remain, on their faces

Gone like winter snow
On a sunny day forgotten
Your empty philosophies
Betraying you and your kind

And the risen Son on his throne
Will cast his rays day and night
Holy light evermore shining
The darkness never to return

And you will be blotted out
Forgotten and melted away
No page in any book 
No word to recall your existence

And we your martyrs will rejoice
Our tears replaced with laughter
Bruised backs straightened and healed
Arms raised and voices lifted

Songs to our Maker and Savior
Sung strong and true
Our melodies carried to His ears
Living water to our hearts

So let this be a warning
And a call to turn aside
For the end of the story
Written and bound

Our creator’s long tale
Of humankind is winding down
The Truth is ascending his steed
And will soon rescue His bride

Seek him in your unbelief
Search for Truth and you will see
Once revealed it always bears fruit
And your eyes will be opened

While you still have breath
Answer the quiet call
Truth’s whispering for your attention
Repentance will open the door

Weep now for your many transgressions
From knees confess missing the mark
Find comfort that we’ve all found
Our hearts wanting and needy

Find the peace that has eluded
The hope always out of reach
The grace and mercy of your victims love
And then understand forgiveness