Busy Social Distancing

I haven’t posted here in the last few days because I have been busy social distancing. You might think….”Wouldn’t the stay at home order make you less busy than usual?”

Well, truthfully the nature of the work is changing but the work itself is still taking the same amount of time . I am moving slower now. Some of that is because I am still recovering from pneumonia. I am noticing it takes me longer to do things than it used to. I need to rest more frequently. But I think the second reason I am moving slower is because of the amount of prayer I am doing these days. That prayer has shifted my mindset to a much more peaceful space.

I am also doing a lot more writing these days too. The book is coming along nicely.

This week I have also gone back to meetings. Not as many as I use to have for sure but I have had two ZOOM meetings which took 3 hours a piece.

Today I called two of our elders in the church and both of them needed my help. One of them has not been able to get out to get food. or her medications. I was going grocery shopping anyway so…. But our grocery has started limiting the number of people who can go into the store at a time.

It didn’t take as long to get in as I thought it would, but by the time was all said and done getting her groceries and meds took me four hours. The smile on her face as I handed her her final med pack was worth it all.

The other couple I helped is refinancing their home and since the banks around here are not open for walk in business all the forms needed to be e-mailed to me for a print off and for them to sign. Then we scanned the forms back into the computer and e-mailed them back to their bank. My elder friends had absolutely no idea how to do any of that so….

Pastoring these days is turning out to be much more practical than it used to be. We find ourselves meeting very practical needs as well as praying and teaching the Scripture. I have to say I am kind of enjoying this new form of social distance busyness. It’s slower and much more hands on. Maybe I am getting less done but somehow it feels like I am being very productive.

Artsy

In my afternoon prayer time the Lord said, “You are beginning to slow down enough to become more consistently creative.”

It is true I have been attempting to be more creative on a more consistent basis. My goal, for the longest time, has been to create a piece of writing and a piece of art everyday.


A fellow artist began posting simple drawing techniques to play with when the stay at home order began. It was then I thought to myself. This time apart could help me establish some of the new habits I have been attempting this year. The dog above was drawn by first writing the number 61 on the page.

One of my problems artistically has always been my consistency. I tend to create in fits and starts. The idea of taking time…prioritizing time everyday has seemed nearly impossible.

That road block which has plagued me for so many years has been removed and I am finding that while I may be classified a beginner my heart is in this. I am having fun creating.

The other day I wrote a poem and I actually took time to rewrite it using a formal poetic form. It was so much fun!

I am finding the more I practice the better I get. I really like my cat.

The Lord is using art to help me keep my mind off of the worries of these present days. What is God laying at your feet to help you shift from worry to joy? If you haven’t found anything take out a piece of paper and a pencil or pen and try your hand at drawing.

A season for every activity under heaven!

Well hello there!

I have heard people say “fear not”.   I began to think…how?  How do we walk through moments like this and not give into the spirit of fear knocking on our door?  The answer is simple, and hard…we are so used to getting things done under our own strength but this…we cannot do this in our own strength.  We must admit our need for HIM (That’s the hard part.  Putting our pride and need to be in control down)! We must turn our eyes to the Lord.    We need to dive into His word.  We need to spend time talking to our good good Father in heaven.

His word tells us there is a time for everything.  EVERYTHING. And a SEASON for EVERY ACTIVITY!

Ecclesiastes 3 New International Version 

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

This means…

THIS IS JUST ANOTHER SEASON.  Yes, it is not a season we have seen for a long long time. It is disrupting our normal. This is what scares us.  But His word tells us  this is NORMAL! It is just a NEW SEASON! One that is uprooting what HAS BEEN to plant seeds for NEW THINGS.  New ideas, new dreams, new goals will be discovered during this season!  That is exciting!!! It is a season where so much looks as if it is being torn down.  While this is an end of how things have been…it creates the space and place for the NEW THINGS WE ARE ABOUT TO BUILD! 

 

We will mourn those things we lose, those things we are letting go of.  We must be careful not to skip this step of letting go, of mourning the loss of what was.  Or we will be tempted to go back to business as usual when this season changes.  AND IT WILL CHANGE.  Right now so many people are having to think out of the box to keep things going.  It is scary, we had gotten so comfortable with what was.  We even thought, “This is how God wants it.”  And now suddenly EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT.  It doesn’t mean God was not in what was. He was in that season, but it also means, He is in WHAT IS. He is in THIS SEASON TOO! Embrace what God is moving you to and through.  Understand what God is asking you to let go of.  AND DESIRE NEVER TO GO BACK.  Don’t go back to comfortable.  Stay out of the box, hand in hand with Jesus- be bold, be courageous, do not shrink back!  Dance for joy, for all that God is doing in and through and for us in this season!

It is a time we must refrain from an actual physical embrace!  Yes social distancing is a thing. Business and churches are shut down.  Some are fighting against this out of fear.  Suggesting we get back to work now, sacrificing a few for the good of all. It might even sound noble.  But my bible tells me the “love of money is the root of all evil.”  We can and will make more money.  But we can not replace a human being. To say a human being is less important than money…IS EVIL…we must call it out.

We are in the season where we must ride out this storm til its end.   The old way of life is passing away, and something new will be birthed in its place. We can not just go back to business as usual, any more than we can say to FALL “Stop right now…don’t move one day more!” All because we don’t want to see Winter come.

Seasons come and seasons go. This season will pass.  Let us learn the lessons that are here for us in the midst of it. Let us embrace the blessings that it offers to us.  Let us make the changes we need to make, plant the seeds for new things so that when their time comes we can reap the harvest!  Let us throw away the old and pick up the new.

FAITH REQUIRES YOU TO STEP OUT OF THE BOAT….WHO’S WITH ME?!  HERE COMES FREEDOM ~ HE IS MAKING ALL THINGS NEW!!!!

 

 

BE UNSTOPPABLE!

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Josh. 1:9

I have wrestled throughout the day whether to post or not post.  To be honest I wasn’t “Feeling it”.  I wanted to lay in bed today and let the world slip.  But a small voice kept whispering into my despair,  “Get up. Get moving. You are going to be OK.  I have you.”

The roller coaster of human emotion that is the Pandemic COVID19, has made me a bit unsettled today. So, I took my own advice this after noon, and stopped listening to the voice of fear and panic and I breathed in Jesus and breathed out His peace.

These are unsettling times.  The prevailing winds are panic and fear.  But Ladies and gentlemen, we have the power to CHANGE THE NATURE OF THE WIND!  Our strength does not come from how much toilet paper we have, or how many pounds of meat we hoarded.  OUR STRENGTH COMES FROM THE LORD…HIS JOY dismatles fear  in a second!  HIS LIGHT bursts forth and decimates panic.

It is not time to shrink back in fear and woe.  It is time to be STRONG AND COURAGEOUS.  When everything in us screams, “You can’t handle this storm.” Breathe in Jesus and Breathe out, “I AM THE STORM!!!” Let’s change the very nature of the prevailing winds from fear and panic, lack and greed; to that of LOVE and JOY , COMMUNITY and UNITY!

Stop looking at the grocery store as if it will save you.  Take a breath and recognize where your help comes from!

Psalm 121 1

I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

The Lord is not shocked over what is happening.  He is standing in the midst of this with us.  Together (with the Lord) we are UNSTOPPABLE!

A Professional Meetinger No More

Photo of Man Leaning on Wooden Table

So I spent 19 of the last 36 hours in meetings of one kind or another. It feels like every last ounce of glory and strength has been drained out of my body. Amanda and Brenda are no better off. Brenda was out even longer than I was by about 6 hours.

When people used to ask me what I did I used to tell them I was a “professional meetinger”. That period of my life was annotated by a long series of meeting minutes and action items I had to get done in order to build the Kingdom of God.

The last 36 hours has made me realize that I am not a “professional meetinger” anymore. I still have a deep passion for the Kingdom of God but I realize my job is not to “meeting” the Kingdom into existence any more (if it ever was). I am going to try really hard not to meeting myself into a stupor ever again.

Today when people ask me what I do for work. I am not exactly sure what my answer will be…artist, prophet, pastor, caregiver? What I do know is that I will never again tell people I am a “professional meetinger”. That is a part of my past. It doesn’t fit me anymore.

Dance Your Rhythm

What do you do when life shifts from march time to a waltz? What do you do when the rest of the world is still marching and you’re waltzing? What do you do when the rest of the world starts noticing that you aren’t marching to their rhythm anymore?

Since returning from The Philippines, my life rhythm has changed radically. There are days when the world still pulls at me and I am tempted to march again. But, most days I am pretty much settled into the slower waltz rhythm that was put on me by God at the end of 2019.

The rhythm is pretty repetitive: My morning’s go one way. My afternoons go another and my nights…well they are still a work in progress but even they have done some major shifting. The framework around all of it seems to be breakfast, lunch and supper.

I am not good at the waltz rhythm yet. I haven’t got all the nuance down, but clunky as I might look, I have changed pace. What I know is that I will not be going back to marching for a while.

People are starting to notice that I am not on the same foot as them anymore. I am OK with that. Everyone else may need to march. I need to dance in order to accomplish what God needs me to do at Cornerstone.

I was praying about it this morning and I felt impressed by the Lord that much of what I am waltzing through is preparation and discovery for the next phase of ministry.

No I am not leaving Cornerstone, people, so don’t worry. God has made it clear that I have work to do in this city still.

But God is changing the nature of the ministry I do. I have known that for a while and have been very open with the whole church about this. He started changing me three years ago and He isn’t finished yet. The change is going at His pace. As with everything else at the church, God has it firmly in hand and He is in charge of the results.

Woman and man dancer latino international dancing

So…What do you do when life shifts from march time to a waltz? What do you do when the rest of the world is still marching and you’re waltzing? What do you do when the rest of the world starts noticing that you aren’t marching to their rhythm anymore?

You figure out how to be the best dancer you can be …and brother you dance!

Man Doing Airborne Stunt

Control

In this season of intensive prayer leading up to and including Lent, I have journaled many personal revelations/ realizations about my life which I think may mean something to the larger body of Christ.

Here is one thought which came to me on January 31 regarding the idea of “CONTROL”:

It is time for me to learn I do not control God. It is time for me to start allowing God to control the outcomes of my life. So many times, my service to God, my prayer to God, my devotional life before God is about me trying to control the outcomes of my life. My religion, my relationship to God is too often about me achieving some personal goal rather than me totally surrendering to God no matter what the outcome of that surrender is. This insistence on control is a very great sin.

It is time to embark upon the great and terrible and mysterious adventure with God. It is time to resign myself to the current of God’s river and to allow it to carry me away where it will.

Do you ever feel like you are trying to control God?

Empty

During this corporate season of prayer I have filled my journal with hundreds of entries from my personal prayer times. Here is one of the thoughts I have been contemplating since Jan. 26.

We are only empty vessels. The sooner we recognize that, the sooner we can stop trying to accomplish things in our own power and we can allow God to fill us and flow through us with His power. In His power we can accomplish eternal things if impossible magnitude.”

I am aware that God is bringing me into a place where I recognize my powerlessness. This sense of my own fragility is the key to operating in the supernatural power of the Living God.

Are you becoming aware that you are not equal to the task in front of you? What is your answer to it?