Just do it!

I can only imagine how many trips to the bank the folks who came up with that Nike slogan have made.  That, and their very recognizable “swoosh” mark, created by Carolyn Davidson, then a graphic design student at Portland State U.  Phil Knight, the company’s co-founder, wanted a design to convey speed and motion.  With this in mind, Mr. Knight chose this representation of Nike’s wing. And, of course, with Nike being the Greek goddess of victory, that must have seemed appropriate to the branding department. 

I also think their phrase “Just Do It” is brilliant.  I see plenty of young competitors in my school nurse’s office with minor bump and bruises due to their budding athletic experience.  I have to remind myself that at this stage, these kids are on the steep end of the learning curve when it comes to sore muscles and growling coaches.  For most of them, it’s a matter of ice, NSAIDs, maybe a little taping, no whining allowed, back to class. Continue reading “Just do it!”

Advertisements

Just a thought

wood 2

We become like the entities we worship.

[King Ahab’s] worst outrage was worshiping idols* just as the Amorites had done—the people whom the Lord had driven out from the land ahead of the Israelites.”

*NLT note: “The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung.”

Too bad he didn’t know this part of the Book—

“And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them.”

‘Nuf said.

1 Kings 21:26; Psalm 135:18  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Rear-view mirror grace

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280One of the (many) things I love about the Bible is the unadulterated openness of the ungodliness of some of God’s most godly people.  I really love it.  It gives me hope.  It also makes me appreciate the honesty of God as well as His patient love and affection.  Some choose to see only His anger and frustration.  Well, heck, if I had been the parent of these kids for several millennia…well, best not to go there.

Here’s another good example.  Many of us Continue reading “Rear-view mirror grace”

Cramped quarters

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280The story of the Old Testament prophet, Jonah, is an intriguing one, and is not without a mild undercurrent of a Providential sense of humor.  Not to poke fun at Jonah’s dire straits, but he did, after all, open himself wide to at least some form of discipline.  Interestingly, as the story unfolds, Jonah never denies that he worships the God of the Hebrew people; he just persistently argues with Him, at least concerning God’s intended task for His wayward prophet.  I have to wonder what brought the man to this extreme—maybe someone from Nineveh had harmed his family somehow, causing a hatred so intense that it created a prejudice toward the whole town (along the lines of the comment about Jesus: “can anything good come out of Nazareth”.)  Maybe Jonah considered God to be unjust in His patient treatment of anyone “not Jewish”. 

Or maybe he was just having a bad day…?

Regardless, a massive storm blows up to buffet the ship carrying Continue reading “Cramped quarters”

God’s “love language*”

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280In the part of the Christian pool that I tend to swim in, corporate and private worship takes on many different forms.  Personally, I not one to dance, but I don’t begrudge those who find that particular expression of worship fulfilling.  I do like singing, as well as “dinging, shaking, and otherwise banging” on various instruments.  And generally, those swimming around with me don’t begrudge me that, either.

I was very, very blessed to grow up in a deeply authentic denominational church with a L-O-N-G history of evangelical mission-oriented Continue reading “God’s “love language*””

How shall I worship You today?

wood 2

How shall I worship You today?

            To bandage another skinned knee—

            Or listen to the story of the dead bird on the driveway…again?

How shall I worship You today?

            By having the emotional courage to change another diaper,

            Cook another meal, or fold another load of laundry?

How shall I worship You today?

             In holding the wrinkled hand with so little time left,

             Or by changing the tire on my neighbor’s car?

How shall I worship You today?

            By living and loving in the moment, instead of in the past—

            Or by patiently trusting You for the future?

Show me how You want me to worship You today.

 

 

Check the connection.

wood 2The other morning at church we were doing a “fewer-piece” worship set; I say “we” because it was just me and the piano player, which is a bit unusual for our congregation.  During practice I called back to the sound booth that I couldn’t hear Dan in the stage monitor.  Then I thought to check his mic, and (typical for me) it wasn’t turned on.  It was plugged in, but still not connected to the power source.  Duh.  (We have patient sound people.)

Kind of like attending church, if you think about it.

I’m all about being a part of a local church, whatever that may look like to different assemblies.  Some sit in pews, some under trees.  Some worship with guitars and djembes, some with organs and pianos.  The point has to do with spiritual Continue reading “Check the connection.”

What Your Feet Mean to Me

quillYea!  I met a new blogger!  If you haven’t already met him, let me have the pleasure of introducing you to Mr. Rusty Foerger, proprietor of the blogs Curriculum of the Spiritual Life and More Enigma Than Dogma AND the author of this beautiful poem.  Personally, how can anyone deny the existence of God with such a thing as poetry (Or art in general, for that matter, thank you Mr. Chesterton.)  Enjoy this contemplative “selah” moment.

WHAT YOUR FEET MEAN TO ME

You say I am doing a beautiful thing for you.
It’s just like you to say that.
All I am doing is washing your feet with my tears;
They come from a fractured place –
A place of stain and shame;
Now they flow out to clean your feet.

Thank you for not stepping on me with your feet
Or trampling over me;
Or hurrying past me to the next big thing,
Or merely to a better thing.

Thank you for letting your feet be nailed in place – in my place.

Thank you for not kicking me with your legs
Or jumping past me: the undesirable, the unlovable.

Thank you for not holding me down with your arms
Or holding me back with your grip.

Thank you for not raping me with your body,
Or stripping me with your eyes
Or looking past me with your gaze.

Thank you for not abusing me with your lips
Or spitting on me with your mouth.

Thank you for not thinking the worst of me,
Or worse:
not thinking of me at all.

Thank you for walking up to me with these feet, these beautiful feet:
For holding me – for holding me up with your arms.

Thank you for listening to me
When I babble on
When I pray
When I lament
When I sing,

Thank you for seeing me – for seeing into me.
Thank you for being able to overlook my sin
And for being willing to do that.

Thank you for talking to me,
For speaking such fantastic words:
Words like honey
Words like light
Words like rock
Words like flight
Words that sing
Words that ring.

Thank you for forming them into living sound:
Songs of joy
Hymns of truth
Feelings of comfort
Trumps of exaltation!
Pronouncements of peace
Words of wisdom
Psalms of beauty
Proclamations of release!

Thank you for shaping words into keys
To unlock yet another chain, to take off yet another yoke.

Thank you for thinking of me – the best of me.
For such beautiful thoughts, such loving thoughts –
With such a capacity, as if each star you flung into space
Was another bright idea you put into place.

Thank you for Your imagination – the truth of who I am to You.
No one else could find it in themselves to create this truth –
To the contradiction of overwhelming evidence.

While tears had long emptied into a careless street of users
Now each one poured out like a 1000 years, a 1000 pounds, a 1000 moments of darkness.
Now each tear is precious to me, to remind me or what it means to touch your feet.

You say I am doing a beautiful thing for you.
And it’s just like you to say that.
All I am doing is washing your feet with my tears
that come from a fractured place –
Split open by the spring of Your own relentlessness
And made to worship the One I love!

This is what your feet mean to me.

Copyright: Easter 2004; R.H. Foerger

Out of the mouths of babes…

why-meditating-on-christ-helps-us-fight-sinOne of my bloggin’ buddies, Slim Jim, has started a new series which I call “Post-It Note Theology”, based on the above picture which I have also stolen from his most worthy and informative site.   He certainly has longer, more in-depth treatments of Christian apologetics and other scholarly things, but I likewise appreciate these spiritual sound bytes for my brain!  To my exceptionally non-techno mind, a sound byte is like a food bite. It’s not enough to fill me up and sustain me indefinitely, but it gives me something to chew on and draw me back for more.
Here’s his most recent tidbit:

As we adore Him, we abhor sin.

As several of us were sitting around his blogging meal and began sampling this morsel, the digital table conversation began.  Here is a part, (and their websites are pretty cool also):

Nice. Fill our minds with the things of God, and no room left for the things of Satan. This is a time when limited brain power is quite useful. Space is limited, so no room for the garbage if I put the right stuff in. Good reminder, Brother Jim, thanks.

Good point Wally…I for one have so much useless garbage stored in my brain that I must delete something in order to make room for more…Should I tell another joke before hitting the delete button? :)

LOL, Patrick, what you said makes perfect sense to me. My storage is limited, so if I use it for God, not as much is left over for the devil. And yes, keep on with the jokes. Your cheesy jokes are a high point of my day usually.

I am reminded of Romans 2:4. It was the quality of God’s character that made me want to give up certain thoughts and actions. They simply didn’t compare well, and they got in the way of what I really wanted. Thank you for the memory prompt.

Interestingly, I was just considering myself how we tend to “fill up on junk food” that may taste good at first (and who doesn’t like a double-scoop cone this time of the summer??) but which is actually pretty bad for you, especially compared to real food.

Real food.  Sustaining.  Which is what adoration is, actually.  A disciplined steady diet of thinking about the love of my life, (well, yes, Bob, that’s you, but I mean….), the One Who gave His life to give me mine back.

And like the future food critic says in this vid, “Umm, ummm! Delicious!”

 

Remembering #summer …eventually

It’s the thick of summer now.  This morning, the locusts are humming and the humidity is high, and it’s not even 7:30!  I have just returned from the last of three sorties out of state, and as I lay in bed last night, trying to get to a place of much needed slumber, I began feeling an inward fatigue.  Not exhaustion – yet – but a red flag, a warning to be aware of what I was sensing internally.  I’ve never scored high in what some might call self-awareness, so this was an important signal for me. 

All three trips were not only tiring—how many miles in the car total?  But they were also very relationship-building and relationship-affirming with other family members.  As much as I truly love them all, and am so thankful for them all, it was still quite a time of “out-giving”.  Now as I lay in bed, I began to feel overwhelmed by “the List”—all the things clamoring for my attention, and none of them wanting to stand in line and wait their turn. 

Now, as I sit on the porch, I pray,

I cast all these cares upon You, Lord Jesus.  Thank You, Holy Spirit, that You are my Guide, Comforter, Teacher.  Thank You for grace for the moment.  Show me how to fill up my soul’s tank, to be honest with my limitations and merciful with the limitations of others.  Lord, protect me from over-responsibility and taking on what is not mine to do, not just in projects, but in people.  Bless the works of my hands and the words of my mouth, because they are Yours.  Show me how to open myself so that You can fill me up.  Then, and only then, can I honestly pour out to others!

As if in response to my prayer, a yellow swallowtail butterfly lights to rest in the bush only a few feet away from where I am sitting. He spreads his wings, a living stained glass window, and I am reminded that pausing to admire and to attend to such beauty is, in itself, an act of worship to its Creator.  Wait, and listen, and watch, and in these things, worship occurs.

 Another one arrives and joins his twin!  This second one I would have missed if I had not been paying attention.  There is no nectar with this green bush, no feeding or pollenization happening.  Nothing that business-as-usual would classify as “productive”.  There is only the cool shade in an already dry, hot, and promising-to-be-hotter morning.  And an important mystery begins to be revealed to me: all creation needs rest.

Is it possible to make a credible connection between rest and worship?  Or is worship merely something we “do” when we sing on Sunday morning, and rest something we’d secretly rather be doing on Sunday morning?  What if rest and worship can each be classified as a both a discipline and a joy?

The need for rest is not merely a consequence of the original Fall of man.  No!  It was indisputably God’s intention from the beginning of creation that we should take time for rest, not only physically, but in every other way as well. The Fall of man is, in actuality, reflected in our cultural attitudes typified by statements like, “Sleep is highly overrated.” Granted, sleep and rest are two different things, but everyone needs both.  It is no accident that the Bible specifically records the 7th day of creation! (1)

Rest is a requirement for health in all areas of our existence.  And rest requires patience, as we allow time for the brain itself, the actual physical organ that sits within in our skull, to recuperate from various levels of trauma, which include individual definitions of stress and overload.  We want quick fixes, like emotional M.A.S.H. units providing temporary patches rather than complete healing and recuperation. 

Now here’s the interesting connection: rest, and its companions—waiting and patience—are skills to be nurtured, even practiced.  And these skills are exercised when we take time to worship God by purposefully diverting our attention from our lists to His beauty.  Significant worship occurs in rest and reflection, as we are attentive to what God is providing for this moment.  (2) Worship does not need to be boxed into a few songs during a worship service, but is expressed when we admire what God is doing right in front of us—in the smile of a child, in the gift of my friend’s big sunflower, or in the lighting of a pair of butterflies in the shade.

I guess even butterflies need rest.

  • Genesis 2:1-3
  • Psalm 84:1; Psalms 23:1-3

(excerpt from God Loves Gardens by Dawn Jones)