10 inches of soul!

soul patch
According to Scot McKnight, of Jesus Creed Fame, I have the longest soul patch he has ever seen, and so since there were some that were interested in seeing a picture, I figured I would post a current picture of my ‘soul patch’ for all to see. From lip to tip it is at 10 inches, but should probably be longer without things like broken ends and trimming too close, but still it’s taken me 2 years to get it to this point. I don’t have the heart to cut it off since I’ve been growing it for so long so i guess I will see just how long I can get it. Check out Scot’s blog by clicking above and if you are interested, he mentions the soul patch in Missional in Seattle 1 post. rock on!

monday’s lent reading

serving ray of hope
Phillipians 2:5-11 (message)

5-8Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient deathâ€â€?and the worst kind of death at thatâ€â€?a crucifixion.

9-11Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth�even those long ago dead and buried�will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.

these verses strike a place right at the heart for me. maybe it’s the reality of the fact that most of the time I am busy serving myself and my own needs, and when i read this, i become painfully aware of it. Or, maybe it is the stark reality that the Creator of everything, laid it all down to become the flesh we know as Jesus, all for our sake. When I read this, I am somewhat overwhelmed with the battle that I am constantly in with my self. This is a powerful enemy, and our other enemy, the devil, just plays off of those natural self-seeking desires that lie withing these chains made of flesh. It’s easy to NOT think of others first, and then serve ME! I see this as possibly our biggest problem, our focus on us and not on others. I heard a great quote this weekend at the ‘missional matrix’ conference which stuck to me and I absolutely believe it to be true. Rose Swetman said, “We will find some real and true healing from our own hurt and pain in the helping and service of others” I know this to be true for myself that when I have been about others and less about myself, I am refreshed and renewed and I feel much closer to my Creator. I will leave you all with this quote from Bono in a recent Time magazine article he wrote (that I discovered from matt’s blog…very timely!) and a link to the full article:

“There’s an Irish word, meitheal. It means that the people of the village help one another out most when the work is the hardest. Most Europeans are like that. As individual nations, we may argue over the garden fence, but when a neighbor’s house goes up in flames, we pull together and put out the fire. History suggests it sometimes takes an emergency for us to draw closer. Looking inward won’t cut it. As a professional navel gazer, I recommend against that form of therapy for anything other than songwriting. We discover who we are in service to one another, not the self.” – Bono

here is the rest

Beannachtai na Feile Padraig!

patshirt
Happy St. Patricks Day everyone! There are not many original writings of Patrick himself, but St. Patricks Breastplate is the most well known. It was the prayer that Patrick prayed everyday before going out to do his work. It is a very good way to start the day. Click below to read the prayer… Sláinte agus saol chugat!
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Simone…a memoriam.

simone headWell, I am sad to say that after 10 years with our lovable, snugly, very black and fat kitty, Simone has gone to kitty heaven. She started to drastically lose weight and we noticed she wasn’t eating anything. So we took her to the vet, had some blood tests, and discovered her liver had failed. After a series of tests, different medications and some procedures, we were unable to see any response to any of the treatments, nor were we able to get her to eat anything. We took another series of blood tests shortly afterwards and they showed that her liver had gotten worse. There was not much that we could do at that point and we knew that she was not happy. She had not eaten anything (except what little tuna juice we could syringe down her throat) in over 3 weeks. So, we had to make the very difficult decision to put our beloved kitty to rest.

It was one of the most difficult decisions to make, and taking her to the vet was even harder. She was a very unique kitty. She often slept on my wife, Vicki’s chest at night. She always would lick your hand and she would go into hyper-spasms when you scratched anywhere on her lower back. She will defnitely be missed 😦

simone chairthe queen

Simone (April 10, 1994 – March 13, 2007)

remember…

god/man
Last night at our ‘house church’ we ended our gathering going around the room and reciting the following mantra, and then everyone repeated it together; but as each of us had our turn, we would add our own word to the space where the underlined word is. This is the mantra with my own choice of word added:

Remember…
we are in the mysterious presence of God!

I often am pondering this awesome God that we worship and serve, and I am astounded and amazed at the mystery that surrounds everything about Him. I know He has made himself known, but at the same time, He is unknown. When using terms like that, they may seem to contradict. On the contrary, they amplify the greatness of our God. So instead of using both terms, it seems best to use the phrasing like this: God is un/known. He encompasses both allowing us to know Him, yet keeping us from ever knowing Him. That is why He is God. He keeps us always pondering, searching and seeking. It is in this seeking, that we find Him…in the knowledge of our lack of knowledge that he is known as God. His depth is so deep, eternity will not even grasp a piece of who He is, yet we know enough of Him to fall on our face in absolute devotion to Father, Son, Holy Spirit, three-in-one God. (yet another great mystery). I was talking to someone just last night about something I wrote on another blog. As I was pondering the words of Jesus, I wrote this statement and it hit it on the head for me: “The more I read Jesus, the more I don’t understand Him, but the more I get Him, and the more I fall in love with Him”.

I leave with this quote from Peter Rollins’ ‘How (Not) To Speak of God’:

“There is a third way that something can be made manifest, and it is this third way that represents the highest mode of revelation. Here something appears in such a way that it saturates us and short-circuits our understanding. This third way is a type of super-abundant revelation that renders the thing in question hypernonymous. Hypernonymity refers to a type of revelation that cannot be reduced to pure presence precisely because there is too much to grasp: there is an absolute excess of information. In this understanding, God’s revelation is understood not as that which makes God present to understanding or experience, but rather as that which overcomes understanding or experience through God’s super-abundant presence. Here the hyper-presence of God is experienced by the religious participant as a type of absence, for our minds are unable to make the God who is there intelligible to us. This third level of revelation acknowledges that while God participates with the world, God is never present to the world in the way that everyday objects are. In this mode of revelation, God’s absence is seen to be a part of the experience of God’s presence: not because God is truly absent, but rather because God is hyper-present.”

the real St. Patrick (part one)

padraigIn honor of St. Patrick,especially this month, I would like to reflect on some of the stories of the man that not many have heard about. Patrick was an amazing man who gave his life for the irish people he fell in love with and to bring them the hope of Jesus. This story in particular I read in a great book, “Wisdom of the Celtic Saints”, by Edward C. Sellner. So enjoy the story:

There was in the country of Airthir a rich and respected man called Daire. Patrick asked him to give him some place for his religious observances. The rich man said to the saint, “What place do you want?”

“I want you to give me that piece of high ground called Willow Ridge, and I shall build a place there,” answered Patrick. The man refused to give the saint that high ground but gave him another site on lower ground now called the Martyrs’ Graveyard near Armagh. Patrick lived there with his followers.

After some time a groom of Daire brought his remarkable horse to graze in the Christians’ grassy meadow. Patrick was annoyed that the horse was brought onto his ground and said, “Daire has acted stupidly in sending his brute beasts to disturb the little ground that he gave to God.” But the groom like a deaf man did not hear, and like a dumb man not opening his mouth he said nothing. He let the horse loose there for the night and went away. When the groom came back the following morning to see his horse, he found it dead. Returning home he sadly reported to his master, “Look, that Christian has killed your horse, since the disturbance annoyed him,”

Daire replied, “Let him be killed too–go now and slay him.”

But as they went outside death fell on Daire quick as a flash. His wife said: “This death is because of the Christian. Someone go quickly and have his blessings brought back to us, and you will be saved; and let those who have gone off to kill him be stopped and recalled.”

Two men went off to the Christian, and concealing what had actually happened said to him, “Look, Daire has been taken ill; let something be brought to him from you so that he may be cured.”

St. Patrick, knowing what had happened, said, “To be sure.” He blessed some water and gave it to them saying, “Go, sprinkle your horse with this water and take it with you.” They did so, and the horse came back to life. Then they sprinkled Daire with the water and he was cured immediately.

Afterward, Daire came to honor Patrick, bringing with him a wonderful bronze bowl from across the sea. “Here is your bowl,” he said to Patrick. “For you are a firm, steadfast man. What is more, I give you, as far as it is mine to give, that piece of ground you once requested; live there.” That city is now called Armagh.