Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lent, Day 37: PRAY

Holy Wednesday

On this Wednesday of Holy Week, May you take some quiet time to contemplate THE PRICE that was paid for YOU, and the PRAYERS that were made for you...because you are PRECIOUS IN HIS SIGHT! Thank you Jesus!

As we remember the time Christ spent in Gethsemane, we remember to carve out time to “have prayer” with God. When we stop talking at God…when we sit in the silence and are willing to listen and wait…we WILL hear His voice.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

John Piper Steps Back for a Season to Regain Perspective, Get "Reality Check"

In an unprecedented move on March 28, noted Christian author and pastor John Piper announced that he would be taking a leave of absence from ministry from May 1 to December 31, 2010. In his letter to his church membership, Piper cited a “growing sense that my soul, my marriage, my family, and my ministry-pattern need a reality check from the Holy Spirit” as the basis for this decision.

Here's the link, so you can read his letter to his church for yourself.

Let me start by stating this at the outset: John Piper is a good man who loves God and desires to please Him.

Unfortunately, very recently, Piper has come under fire from people who have been concerned with his unchecked and often inaccurate depictions of (i.e. vilification of) people, activities, and movements within the emerging/emergent church.

The main criticism of his behavior has been centered around his approach, which has been described as smug, inaccurate (he fails to make an accurate distinction between ‘emergent’ and ‘emerging’- a BIG mistake), and frequently uncharitable rumor-mongering, that was patently un-Christian in its delivery.

His most recent critique of the movement, which can be viewed here:

...decries the emerging church’s emphasis of “relationship” over-and-against ‘truth’ (another mischaracterization). Unsurprisingly, the video caused a blitzkrieg of opposition due to the polemic rhetoric which was used, and caused an outcry amongst post-modern/post-denominational believers (A.K.A. “emergents”- if you must…) for Unity and Charity within the Body.

What I think is most poignant to note after reading Piper’s letter (link above) is that the Holy Spirit is clearly working on him and showing him truth through his relationships with other believers.

The argument (i.e. relationship versus truth), then is no argument at all; for truth is always embodied and transmitted to us through right relationships. Jesus made that quite clear in Luke 10:27.

As God works to form each of us more and more into the likeness of His image, may we, like Piper, be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and to the urgings of our brothers and sisters in Christ. John’s openness to be transparent, and his desire to be obedient and humble are to be commended.

Perhaps we should all seek to display the transparency, openness, commitment to relationship, accountability, obedience and humility that Piper models.

Perhaps, we can all learn a great deal from this...

Perhaps we can, by recognizing the brokenness in each other as a point of common ground, grow more unified as a body of believers.

There are many theological points of doctrine that John and I do not agree on. But that is not the point. That does not matter

What matters is (and I truly believe this): We both love Jesus with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength; and we both endeavor (and sadly, often fail- due to our human condition) to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Please join me* in committing to (electronically) ‘sing’ to John ‘psalms, hymns, and songs' of encouragement during this very difficult time.

You can contact him at: , or:

Desiring God
PO Box 2901
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Fax: 1.612.338.4372

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
John 13:35 (NIV)

Grace and Peace,

*comment made to his above-linked letter, made on 3-30-10 at 10:20 EST:


At a very difficult and dark period in Thomas Merton’s life, he penned this prayer that has been such a help to so many people. May it be a comfort to you now, as you continue to desire God and desire to please Him...

O Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going,
I do not see the road ahead of me,
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,
And that fact that I think
I am following Your will
Does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe
That the desire to please You
Does in fact please You.
And I hope I have that desire
In all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything
Apart from that desire to please You.
And I know that if I do this
You will lead me by the right road,
Though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore I will trust You always
Though I may seem to be lost
And in the shadow of death.
I will not fear,
For You are ever with me,
And You will never leave me
To make my journey alone.

Source: Thomas Merton, Pax Christi, Benet Press, Erie, PA.

Grace and Peace to you,
Tracy Dickerson- a sister in Christ who is emerging and transforming from Glory to Glory (but not quite there, yet) :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Oh How Good and Oh How Pleasant...

Last night, I met with a handful of other Believers. As we shared a meal, we began sharing our personal stories as well. We talked about our individual journeys and how we had all ended up at this gathering. The amazing thing that I noted as I was listening was the similarity within all the stories. No doubt, each story was special and individual and had value in its own rite. But the collective impact for me was profound.

I saw among this band of strangers multiple parallels that simply cannot be attributed to coincidence. Each of us expressed the sense of our current ‘church’ situation not feeling as if it ‘fit.’ Each described the experience of “Paradise Lost”- no longer being able to feel or find a true sense of Christian community and soul-friendship. Each of us articulated an indescribable yearning, a home-sickness if you will, for ‘something else’/ “someplace else.” Each one of us told a story that involved sleepless nights yearning for “I’m not sure what”; each of us described tearful nights where we poured out our souls to God- begging…pleading, even…for Him to miraculously bring us to the place of Christian koinonia that was so lacking.

It was so evident that God was at work…my “Spirit-o-meter” was registering off the scale!

Later that evening, I thought about the psalm below, and realized how apropos it is to our collective situations.

Psalm 42 (New International Version)

For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah. [a]
1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while men say to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"
4 These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go with the multitude,
leading the procession to the house of God,
with shouts of joy and thanksgiving
among the festive throng.
5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and 6 my God.
My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
8 By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God my Rock,
"Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?"
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"
11 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Especially as I read verses five and eleven, I remembered a song from the Glory Revealed album that came out a few years back. The song and lyrics are in the video below.

I’m excited to see what God is doing and getting ready to do in our lives, both individually and collectively. But more than that, I am overwhelmed, once again, at how God is faithful to fulfill our godly desires for fellowship, discipleship and purposeful service when we relentlessly ask for His guidance, and put our complete hope, faith and trust in Him.

May it be so with you, too. May God give you an unquenchable desire, and then may He fulfill that longing over and above your satisfaction!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Child-like Faith: "Jesus Loves Me- This I Know!"

We live in the tension of maturity versus immaturity.

Paul calls the early Christian churches to maturity and rebukes them for their immaturity in the Lord.

Jesus tells us to come to Him with child-like faith.

At first blush, these two commendations seem to be in diametric opposition to one another...

They're not.

We are called to have the faith of a child, but the understanding and the intellect and the actions of an adult.

It's a Body-Soul-Spirit issue.

Let me explain...

Your heart (spirit) needs to BELIEVE the Word like a child- with simple Faith.

Your brain/mind (soul) needs to THINK the Word like an adult Christian- with intellectual prowess.

Your body needs to DO the Word like an adult Christian- with actions that give credence to your thoughts and beliefs.

Mature faith is WHOLISTIC.

Mature faith is complex, yet also SIMPLISTIC.

Here's a perfect example of having childlike faith, yet adult-like intellectual pursuit of truth.

Dr. Karl Barth was one of the most brilliant and complex intellectuals of the twentieth century. He wrote volume after massive volume on the meaning of life and faith. In 1962, TIME Magazine did a cover story on Barth, and recognized him as one of the leading Christian theologians of our time.

During his interview for this Time Magazine article, he was asked by the reporter if he could summarize what he had said in all those volumes. Dr. Barth thought for a moment, then said:

“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

Barth knew at a very deep level that all his wisdom, knowledge (and I'm sure he would also admit-conjecture) about theology and the nature of God was nothing if he did not also retain within his spirit the small simple faith of a child.

May you, also be a "Mature Child of God"...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Last Post for Irish Week: At the Foot of the Cross~ Kathryn Scott

I've been posting on all things Irish this week in honor of their patron Saint's Feast Day which was on Wednesday, the 17th.

Today, on the last day, we give attention to Kathryn Scott a worship leader extraordinaire.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Irish Christians: Robin Mark

In continuing with my theme of honoring Celtic Christianity this week, I have posted this awesome song by Robin Mark, renown Irish Worship Leader.

May you find peace and blessing in the words and music.

Beannacht Dé leat! (God's blessing on you!)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Your Church is Too Small

by John Armstrong

Book Review

I was honored to receive a pre-release book in the mail last week from Zondervan Publishing. Written by John Armstrong, the book is entitled Your Church is Too Small

I have to admit it: at first blush, the title of the book was a bit off-putting- at least for anyone who, like me, is remotely sickened by the thought of one more book which boasts a formulaic solution to “your church’s size problem.” I was at once disinterested and disappointed…for about one nanosecond, because once I read the sub-title, my interest was piqued.

The book’s subtitle holds the key: “Why Unity in Christ’s Mission is Vital to the Future of the Church”

Upon reading this, my disinterest immediately turned to intrigue.

So, while I’m at making admissions, let me also say: “I was mistaken.” Because as soon as I read the subtitle, I realized that despite its title’s reference to “size” this was not you run-of-the-mill book about church growth.

In fact it is not a book about church growth at all.

And it is most certainly not run-of-the-mill.

This is not just another book about opening the floodgates of “any old church” and making bigger congregations; this is a book about opening the collective mind of the church universal and making life-changing paradigm shifts toward a larger understanding of each other without focusing so much on “who’s in and who’s out.”

A book that addresses the cancer of disunity among Christians, now there’s a read!

Sadly, Church unity is not something you hear a lot about at the ground level. What I mean by this is that you won’t hear members of one particular faith community bemoaning how they wish they had a relationship with the church down the road.

Quite the contrary…

Outsiders observe the disconnect between our behaviors and beliefs, especially with regard to our love for one another- the love to which Christ called us. This disunity is visible and off-putting.

Mahatma Gandhi said it best when he said: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”

He was right…is right; and while Romans 1:16 reminds us to not be ashamed of the Gospel, we certainly have no reason to be proud of our behavior and our lack of unity. It is shameful at times.

But I digress…

Although much of the first part of the book discusses Armstrong’s personal story and search for (and discovery of) Truth and Unity within the Church, it is not merely autobiographical in nature. He gives real examples and suggestions for restoring unity within the Eccesia.

Armstrong encourages the reader to contemplate the concept of embracing a “both/and” versus an “either/or” mentality. In other words, he suggests that we recognize the false dichotomy in which we feel we must choose between "fact" and friendship; and he stresses the importance of seeking both truth and unity versus choose between either truth or unity.

The book is not fluff, either. One has only to open the book and peruse the Table of Contents and Glossary and Notes sections to see that this book is not only well researched, but also well rounded in its referencing. Additionally, Armstrong’s ability to use names like Schaeffer, Newbigin, Calvin, Ratzinger, Barth, Lewis, Oden, Guder, Kuyper, Bonhoeffer, Packer, and the Taizé Community in one book masterfully proves his point by example. Although these great thinkers clearly come from very different places historically, geographically, and doctrinally, they all share(d) a passionate desire for the Gospel.

His argument is well made that if Christians from all the major “streams” enter into a Christocentric relationship of cooperation toward the mission of Kingdom work, the gospel will flourish.

I highly recommend this book which offers a fresh perspective and viable ideas on how to see Christ's Unity Prayer in John 17 come to fruition.

And on that note, an encouraging thought about Jesus’ Prayer of Unity:

God’s Word is powerful and transcends time.

When spoken, a word from God takes on its own life and continues forward out into time. God’s command: “Let there be light!” continues today, as billions of constellations continue to form and hurtle outward through space, creating new galaxies and new points of light.

So too, the word of the Living Word of God-the words that Christ used to intercede for His Church in Gethsemane-also hurtle forward through time, forming and glorifying newly created believers and creating anew His Church whose mission is to shine like the sun and be a beacon of hope to the world.

May it be so.

(BTW: The book releases on April 1, and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.)

Today, Everyone's Irish!

St. Patrick’s Breastplate~

This is the Prayer of St. Patrick, a powerful prayer written by Maewyn Succit (known to us as St. Patrick) which he wrote in 433 after a great evangelistic campaign. St. Patrick is said to have written this prayer to strengthen himself with God's protection as he prepared to confront and convert Loegaire, high druid king of Ireland. As a result, the Druids of the region plotted to kill him. This plot was foiled, for when the druids came upon the place where were they were camped, they did not see Patrick and his men but instead saw a doe and twenty fawns. Because of the supernatural invention by God, the prayer is called “Lorica” (“The Deer’s Cry” in Celtic).

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.
I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

St. Patrick’s Breastplate Video:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Irish Christian Artist: Moya Brennan

As we approach St. Patrick's Day, I will be posting art of Irish Christians. This artist, Maire (or Moya) Brennan is Enya's sister. She is a follower of Jesus Christ in the Celtic tradtion. Enjoy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

St. Patrick's Week~ Day One:

Yeah, I gotta admit- he's one of my "faves". That said, I'm giving him a full week of "press"...

A bit about the life of Maewynn Succit (St. Patrick): He utilized and perfected "relational evangelism" in which seekers were first invited to enter into community, and then they eventually converted; as opposed to "conversion evangelism" which requires a conversion experience prior to a person fully being accepted into the community. Which is better, do you think? Which did Jesus use?

St. Patrick and Early Christianity:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Laetare Sunday

Today is "Rose Sunday" also called Laetare Sunday, or Refreshment Sunday because, on this Fourth Sunday during Lent we are half way through Lent and take the time today to lighten up a little. Laetare means "REJOICE!" We take a break from focusing on the penitence and austerity of Lent on THIS DAY to focus on JOY DESPITE DIFFICULTY!

You can read more about the significance of this day in the Liturgical Calender here

Today's Scripture Passage:

Isaiah 54 (The Message)

Spread Out! Think Big!

1-6 "Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby.
Fill the air with song, you who've never experienced childbirth!
You're ending up with far more children
than all those childbearing women." God says so!
"Clear lots of ground for your tents!
Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big!
Use plenty of rope,
drive the tent pegs deep.
You're going to need lots of elbow room
for your growing family.
You're going to take over whole nations;
you're going to resettle abandoned cities.
Don't be afraid—you're not going to be embarrassed.
Don't hold back—you're not going to come up short.
You'll forget all about the humiliations of your youth,
and the indignities of being a widow will fade from memory.
For your Maker is your bridegroom,
his name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
Your Redeemer is The Holy of Israel,
known as God of the whole earth.
You were like an abandoned wife, devastated with grief,
and God welcomed you back,
Like a woman married young
and then left," says your God.

7-8Your Redeemer God says:
"I left you, but only for a moment.
Now, with enormous compassion, I'm bringing you back.
In an outburst of anger I turned my back on you—
but only for a moment.
It's with lasting love
that I'm tenderly caring for you.

9-10"This exile is just like the days of Noah for me:
I promised then that the waters of Noah
would never again flood the earth.
I'm promising now no more anger,
no more dressing you down.
For even if the mountains walk away
and the hills fall to pieces,
My love won't walk away from you,
my covenant commitment of peace won't fall apart."
The God who has compassion on you says so.

11-17"Afflicted city, storm-battered, unpitied:
I'm about to rebuild you with stones of turquoise,
Lay your foundations with sapphires,
construct your towers with rubies,
Your gates with jewels,
and all your walls with precious stones.
All your children will have God for their teacher—
what a mentor for your children!
You'll be built solid, grounded in righteousness,
far from any trouble—nothing to fear!
far from terror—it won't even come close!
If anyone attacks you,
don't for a moment suppose that I sent them,
And if any should attack,
nothing will come of it.
I create the blacksmith
who fires up his forge
and makes a weapon designed to kill.
I also create the destroyer—
but no weapon that can hurt you has ever been forged.
Any accuser who takes you to court
will be dismissed as a liar.
This is what God's servants can expect.
I'll see to it that everything works out for the best."
God's Decree.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Male and Female...He Created Them

Somehow, somewhere the message has been clearly transmitted: beauty does not equal smart…and most certainly there is no relationship between theological soundness, the ability to articulate theological arguments and femininity.

And that message has been received…loud and clear, and it is a stumbling block of major import.

For example, my seminary does not have a dress code per se, but you will not find many of the women wearing bright colors, clothing that is accessorized, jewelry or makeup. I can only think of a few of us who do. To do so makes one a target of suspicion. And so, many female students dress down significantly. Interestingly, this is an unspoken expectation that seems to be promulgated by the female student body. Women who dress otherwise stick out like a sore thumb.

And so, I was presented with a dilemma and subsequently experienced a pervasive free-floating anxiety when I attended classes wearing anything pink, sparkly, or remotely stylish. I would jokingly tell my non-seminary friends that I was the seminary equivalent to Elle Woods from the movie: Legally Blonde. Despite my light-hearted, laissez faire attitude, I felt self-conscious, and feared I would not be taken seriously. (And, of course, I did want to be taken seriously…Going to seminary was the most serious decision I made in my life.) Not to mention, I deserved a little respect, with a GPA of something around 3.9…

Before I go any further, I want to stress- this is not a modesty issue (remember, I am a middle-aged medical professional)--this is a *preference* issue regarding person style and likes/dislikes. I feel the need here to explain myself with more clarity, so that the reader clearly understands my observations and where they are coming from. I am in my final year of seminary, which I entered in my forties after 20 very successful years in the rapidly-becoming-female-dominated world of medicine (for specifics, see this). After working successfully at an Ivy League medical school doing cancer research, and being accepted on my own merits, it never occurred to me that another academic institution (i.e. a seminary) would be different. I got up every morning, dressed smartly, stylishly and professionally and caught a train into the city. Where I came from, dressing well and doing one’s job well and with great skill and thought were not considered to be mutually exclusive.

So, obviously for me, changing the way I looked to fit this new ‘social norm’ was not an option. For me, it felt too "Yentyl-ish"...too much like trying to be "like them" and it felt like I was denying who God made me to be—a WOMAN who is both gifted and called. I also felt that it would be disingenuous to present myself to my colleagues at seminary differently from how I would present myself in general public. And so, I decide it would be wrong (yup- morally wrong- like lying) for me to wear a different ‘costume’ to class.

And so, I made peace with my inner “Elle” and went to seminary classes…dressed like myself.

This was a spiritually-formative move. It forced me to be humble, believe it or not…Forcing myself to wear my own wardrobe was intimidating. I felt naked, exposed, and vulnerable. I taught myself to disregard the looks of distain and the demeaning comments. I had to decide that I didn’t care what others thought of me, and that I was less concerned about whether my colleagues took me seriously and more concerned about whether I was doing the work I was at seminary to do. What the experience taught me was that part of what I was at seminary to learn was how humility produces God-reliance, over-and against self-reliance; and that a byproduct of humility is God-confidence, which sits in opposition to self-confidence. God-confidence, or ‘holy-confidence’ is more about God-given authority, than humanly-achieved acceptance. As its name suggests, it is sourced from God and to have it, one must deny oneself.

Now, I will admit that wearing pink, sparkly clothes seems like a downright ridiculous way to promote spiritual formation. But, for me, it was the resistance to the pull of the cultural mores that was the formative exercise. Had I simply conformed, I would have been relying on myself and my own actions, and I would most assuredly lost the opportunity to be transformed by the Holy Spirit by setting aside my pride and becoming more Christ-like through humility.

Sadly, this is not the norm and many women make the decision to de-feminize for the reasons I stated above. They trade in their favorite shoes for unisex "Birkies" and hope to go unnoticed. By doing this, I feel that they are unwittingly giving credence to the unspoken misconception that anything feminine cannot be smart. This false impression is too close to the fallacy: “Females cannot be smart,” and for this reason, must be considered a seditious thought, one that is counter-Gospel, and counter-Kingdom and counter-productive to God’s mission. Any such seditious thoughts must not be allowed to run roughshod through our institutions…they must be taken captive.

So, who is to” blame” in all this?

The seminary I attend is I fabulously egalitarian and supportive in every way, shape and form, as their policies successfully create a structure that promotes a milieu that is designed to enhance the calling and giftedness of all God's people. That said, I find that it is still *personal opinion/perceptions/preconceived notions of colleagues* (not public or institutional policy) that create an atmosphere of acceptance or rejection. It is the individual seditious thoughts, many of which are scripted to us through our larger cultural powers and principalities that are most dangerous.

(So now you’ve heard me sing the praises of all that is pink and sparkly and 'deride' those who wear Birkenstocks as ones who are following the cultural norms too closely. Now there's a bit of a switch, huh? Are you starting to feel like you’ve been smoking something? ...But, all kidding aside, I do hope that I make my point quite clear:

Only when our paradigms are challenged will they be shifted. As it is with God’s kingdom- that He enters through a people-group, yet still deals with the individual- so it will be that we see our opportunity for change. It will be in a ‘one-person-at-a-time’ way that this misconception is challenged and overcome- one feminine theologian at a time…

Friday, March 12, 2010

Crazy For You, Jesus!

God has been heavily moving my heart in the area of church planting.
I'm not a church planter, so at the beginning of all of this, I was sure God was when He was 'confused' about calling me to seminary...

Actually, I Knew God wasn't confused- but that made me confused; because what I "knew" about God didn't seem to match up to how He was clearly revealing Himself.

Like Moses, who knew he was a stuttering, murderous person, unworthy...
"Not me, God!"

Like Noah, who was not a ship-builder and who lived in an arid land...
"Doesn't make sense, God!"

Like Peter in the boat on a stormy ocean...
"This defies all logic, God!"

But God's answer never changes:
"You, follow as I me I AM the truth!"

This week,I learned more deeply that when God asks you to do something, He is inviting you to participate in His glory, and the act that He commands you to do is a *privilege*, not a *task*.

This week, after months of culling together ideas...
...after being awakened in the middle of the night on numerous occassions to write things down that had come to me in dreams...
...after interacting with people like Darrell Guder, Andy Crouch & John Franke...
...after hours and hours of pouring over The Word...
... talking and probing friends
(some who did not even know I was probing them)... finally came together and I knew what I needed to do!

And it was crazy!

When I say crazy, I mean really nuts!

And I was scared.

I was afraid because of pride (reputations are important, credibility is valuable, dignity is an important commodity)...and I knew I needed to "get over myself."

So I prayed.

And read The Word (God took me to 2 Corinthians 5, especially verses 13 through 15.)

These phrases bolstered my cowering heart:

"If we are out of our mind, we are out of our mind for Christ."

"His love compels us."

"He died so that we should not live for ourselves, but for Him who died."

And I was able to remain faithful to the "fast" that God called me to this Lent when He laid it on my heart to "fast" hesitation and procrastination.

The iron was hot...I knew it..and so I struck!

I sent an email to someone I didn't know, a prominent Pastor and Author and sent him the outline of the ministry plan that God has been feeding me for nearly a year...

You need to understand that for that entire time, I wasn't sure why I was getting all this stuff, or what/who it was for.

But now it seemed clear...and the clarity seemed crazy.

I was still scared, but I was COMPELLED BY HIS LOVE...
Words cannot describe the relief I felt after hitting "send".

This morning I got an email back from this fella confirming that this was just the email he needed at just this time. You can read about it here in his blog.

The phrase "dying unto myself" has taken on new meaning this week as I realize at a very deep and personal level, that when I am willing to put myself in a position of vulnerability, GOD WILL be faithful.

And He was faithful!

God's faithfulness is invigorating beyond words!

Through my willingness to be obedient and humble,even humiliated...
God gave me an energy boost!

This is truly the meaning of "When I am weak, then He become strong."

His gracious sufficiency envelopes me!