Sunday, March 28, 2010

I have been considering helping out in Sunday school again so I sat in today to see if there is a way to serve. It has been ten years since I have taught Sunday school and my body feels it.

So I wanted to watch today and after introductions to the class leader I did so and waited to see if the Lord would give me a clear indication. The first half all the children 4th grade and under met together for review of last weeks lesson, a game tied in to the lesson and a video presentation of the new lesson. After that the children were split into graded classes and I chose third grade to continue my observation. There were about eight children and the class leader questioned them on the lesson and with all the third grade enthusiasm displayed, she finished the lesson. Then we went to play a game something like “Red Light Green Light”. One of the girls there, about seven years old named Claire, faced some mental and physical challenges; she couldn’t walk but she could crawl about with great speed and freedom. Her mental ability was about that of a five year old. She was a little over enthusiastic in all she said and did but she began to charm me. When we prepared for the game I decided to sit by her and help her to cross the line when her number was called so she wouldn't be last in each competition. As the game went on I thoroughly enjoyed helping her try and win; and we held our own.

I realized without my help she wouldn't have been able to compete, but with my help she may have even had an edge. At one point during the play she gave me a big hug and whispered, “I love you”. Well, need I say at that point I was all in.

Christ spoke to me through that tender little heart as clearly as if He stood before me and were to nod and approving, “Yes”.

Photo from the Internet

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I read a challenging excerpt from Carlyle’s “Sartar Resartus.” Don’t ask me what that means, but the piece was titled “Who Am I?” and he poses many interesting and impossible questions. The lines that intrigued me were prefaced by the following-

“but the reflex of our own inward force, the “phantasy of our dream; or what the earth-spirit in Faust names it, the living visible garment of God.

Now what he meant by this “living visible garment of God” I’m not sure, but I think he means something like Jesus with flesh on it or the true way we represent God by our actions in the world. The following poem illustrates this……I think.

“In Being’s floods, in Action’s storm,

I walk and work, above, beneath,

Work and weave in endless motion!

Birth and Death,

An infinite ocean;

A seizing and giving

The fire of the living;

‘Tis thus at the roaring loom of time I ply,

And weave for God the garment thou seest Him by.’

So I interpret this poem to mean that in floods and active storms of life, where I carry out my continual work and life of giving and receiving, applying what I learn of man and God, I weave for others to see what I consider to be a life of Christ likeness. Christ likeness being “the garment thou seest Him by.”

That’s my take on it.

Photo taken from the Internet

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I chose this picture of great expectation to set the stage for a description of a brother at the center. He is a late thirties man who has done many things; good and bad. He was successful in business and at one point had a car dealership; he also roamed the streets gang banging dodging bullets when younger; he has served in the church (I think as a youth pastor), and he was in strong man competition where he ultimately broke his back and became addicted to pain meds. Now he is in our program after losing everything material, but still has his marriage in tact.

So, what does the picture above have to do with this brother? I’ll tell you; if you were to have the chance to meet him, he would be of the mind set that the Holy Spirit had brought you to him and that the Holy Spirit was going to manifest Himself in some way at the meeting. I see him every morning, a mountain of a man, and he is handsome, composed, and friendly with a radio voice as he man’s the center’s phones. I look forward to talking with him because this spirit of anticipation permeates him with each encounter. He is there to do business with God and he has no doubt that each person that walks in the office is an opportunity to see God work. You can’t help but be drawn in by his amiable smile and eager anticipation. To tell you that God rewards his anticipation, words fail to express. Nearly every morning one of us, or both, ends up in tears or leaves with a heart full of God’s presence. He is child-like in his faith and God pours out blessing in return. This brother has truly left his mark on me and represents the scripture that exhorts us to be ready in season and out; he is genuine, low keyed and full of the Holy Spirit that splashes all over the office while he’s there.

What a blessing, what a blessing.

Photo by Vrindaavan Lila

There is a law in physics to the effect that action is equal to reaction. The ball rebounds from the wall with precisely the force with which it was thrown against the wall. And if I approach a man with politeness I usually receive politeness.I get from this world a smile for a smile, a kick for a kick, love for love, and hate for hate.

If I am petulant, unrestful, irritable, unsatisfied, wretched, and bored – I know what the crop will be, and might have expected the harvest when I sowed that seed of self-indulgence, lack of will, moral cowardice, and general selfishness.

If I am lonely, it was I who drove hearts away.

If I am bitter, it was I who skimped the sugar-bowl.

The loving are beloved.

The generous are helped.

The considerate are considered.

The bully by and by is bullied, the smasher smashed.

And the end of the hog is the slaughterhouse.

I like this little piece because I'm always looking for practical quotes to share with the guys at the center. There is such a variety of personalities, but one thing they all have in common, self-absorption. I have to admit that a certain fella came to mind when I read "The bully by and by is bullied, the smasher smashed." And if this piece is true, his end is........well, not good.

Dr. Frank Crane, photo by formalArt

Saturday, March 06, 2010

I like this quote by John Newton; he is so free to share his weaknesses and his humble approach to the weaknesses we all share is refreshing. Here he speaks to the folly that fills our minds, even when we are in the most holy circumstances.

"Indeed, all situations and circumstances (supposing them not sinful in themselves, and that we are lawfully placed in them) are nearly alike. In London I am in a crowd, in the country I am sure there is a crowd in me. To what purpose do I boast of retirement, when I am pestered by a legion in every place? How often, when I am what I call alone, may my mind be compared to a puppet-show, a fair, a Newgate, or any of those scenes where folly, noise, and wickedness most abound! On the contrary, sometimes I have enjoyed sweet recollection and composure where I could have hardly expected it. But still, though the power be all of the Lord and we of ourselves can do nothing, it is both our duty and our wisdom to be attentive to the use of appointed means on the one hand, and on the other, watchful against those things we find by experience have a tendency to damp our fervor or to dissipate our spirits."
Painting by Mark Bryant