Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Bounce House, Really Good Fudge, and Hope...

Lord Jesus--Saturday was spent either in preparing for Harvest Fest or in participating in it...there was a lot to do...and all with the threat of weather cancelling much of the plan.  It wasn't much of a prayer as prayers goes...simple direct, no King James language at all.

It went something like this..."Lord, You said ask and it will be given, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened. I am asking for no snow or rain until after 5 o'clock." Now, this was a walking most of mine are.  I was walking the dogs as the bounce house man was dropping off the bounce house.  I was thinking what if it rains and snows and this $200 is wasted, and this work is lost.

Being a child of the 60's didn't help at this point.  All I could think of were the old Woodstock recordings of people shouting..."No rain, No rain, No rain!"  The sediment was the same...who knows maybe for some of those who shouted out those lines in the mud it was a prayer.  A bit of a stretch but maybe...

Any way with thoughts of Woodstock in mind,  I brought my prayer to you.  There were reasons that we had planned this event.  It was meant to be a way to just participate in our community...a way to show Jesus..a way to be of service for a time to those who surround us.

It was going to be about...bounce house fun, food to eat, people to meet, kids and a hayride.  It seems as if it was also going to be about an answer to a walking prayer.

You know as I prayed this prayer...thoughts of the work and preparation that had gone on was in my mind...the work of hands that could have been doing other things.  There was sacrifice and hope in the work that had been done.

It was going to be a day of face painting and fun.  It was going to be a day about treats...about fudge with candy corn in it.  It was about treats made with the motivation that they were going to be used by you, Lord Jesus.

Those thoughts led to a simple prayer.

Sometimes I can get way off the beaten track.  I can miss the point so easily.   I can think that your work is about grand themes and miss the fact that it is as simple as making fudge...and as complicated as hope that weather patterns for just a few hours will be altered over Saratoga.

Can you answer those kind of prayers, Lord Jesus?

This is just a few words of praise for a prayer answered.  So often I pray, prayers and then never thank you for the answers.  Thank you for snow that started just as we were ending.  Thank you for the way in which simple things were used to show your love alive within Living Springs Community Church.  Thank you for each of the people that you have brought into the life of this church on the corner of Washington and Pine.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


John 4:9-11  (NIV)

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

Lord Jesus--It is just water after all.  But to you, Lord Jesus, it became a word picture of something more than molecules of H20 flowing over rocks.  Water becomes a picture of the gift of God soon to be given at Pentecost.   The Holy Spirit and his work in my life is something like water but water that carries it's own life and vitality.

The sounds of water over the rocks as it slides down the course bounded by the banks of this stream reminds me that there is a course to my arc to the story line.  My prayer is that the arc of my life will remind people of you, Lord Jesus.  That the banks and the rocks that form that course will be molded and moved by the work of your Holy Spirit in this heart of mine.

John 7:37-39 (NIV)

37... “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.

Lord Jesus--Here is the promise you made to each of your followers. Not only is the Spirits offer coming into my life, but there is the promise that your Spirit will flow out of my life in an flow that is just like this creek.  Your Spirit longs to flow through me to the world that is parched all around me.  Your Spirit wants entrance into the rooms and conversations that make up my life.  He wants to flow through me in a way that is not restricted by my perceptions or my limited focus.

This promise is not meant to be the exception. It is meant to be the rule, the measure, the standard of life and conduct.  That by the presence of your followers in the world, in factories, and hospitals, in offices and in board rooms that through them the life giving water of your Spirit can gain entrance.

Really, the picture  of a creek on the side of the road is too small a picture.  Your Spirit is really more like the ocean expanse the limits of which I will never see...of your grace made available and stretched out before me.

Lord Jesus--In this day that awaits me, let me be that life giving water that only comes from your Holy Spirits action in my life with power and vitality.  Let the Spirit flow as you see fit. Work in this day as you see fit.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Step Beyond Circles

Lord Jesus--Where will this road lead me that I am on? Now a part of me knows that it leads to Johnstown and if I turn at the right place it be a part of the link that leads me home.

Home is a good place...a place of kitchen tables, of lights in the windows on a fall evening, and of a back door where a warm welcome awaits with family. I am a blessed person to have a place that waits at the end of the journey. A place of welcome, a place of friends, family and warmth. If I can just keep it in my head and heart, this home is just a reminder of a HOME that is waiting for me. A home with you, Lord Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5

6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight— 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

So there is home...that is just through the woods a bit and down the road...but along the are with me. It is a walk by faith...a walk that brings me to crossroads just like this one. Choices that turn every which way but loose, as the saying goes.

Lord Jesus, the cross road. Where does this road lead,...songs wave over me when and memories of time less frenetic with bicycle and time on my hands...or just the time to make a turn that leads to a turn to who knows where. Wandering is something that is in my DNA...I would love to see what is beyond the next hill around the next curve and through the woods ahead.

Your words run through my head..."7 for we walk by faith, not by sight—."  I am good with that when the walking is beside still waters...or even fast running creek like this one.  I wish that Tasho and Paris were with me and we could meander through the woods...I would need my boots....It looks a bit wet.But that would be for a different day.  This is a day of dead lines and least I can take a picture of it. 

We walk by faith not by sight.  Ok, so what does that mean for me today Lord?  These people are living a life that looks simpler to me right now.   But simple is  not the course that you have mark out for my life. My walk is sometimes through complicated, twisted and dark valleys.  Choices that confound and conflict with each other... places where I fall down in the dark and make poor choices at the cross road of the moment.

What does it mean in the middle of a life that comes to me in full color not just in black and white?  This is a world where decisions tie together in a string that so easily gets knotted and tangled. There are consequences that are unseen and unclear at the point of the crossroad when the decision is being made.

It means that you are with me at the cross road moments, and each step along the way.  It means that the faith walk is really a prayer walk.  It means that even when I end up in places that confound, conflict and confine, that the Spirit of God is flowing right through the center of the course of my life. Sometimes in a subterranean torrent of grace that I just may not realize or comprehend. So in the middle of this passage Paul calls me to courage...the sure reality that you are leading and guiding me. 

Lord Jesus-In this day that is already tugging at my sleeve, be in my internal conversation may the steps, and crossroads of my life be directed by your Holy Spirit's direction.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Lord Jesus--The thought of freedom has been running around in my heart and mind.  Freedom is one of thoughts that comes to mind when I am in the High Peaks.  I wonder how much this view has changed in the last 200 years.  But then there is the highway that was cut right into the rock of the moutain that got me to this view.

Right about at this point I should know enough by now to quit while I am still ahead, but that is just not the arc of my life.

Lord Jesus--If I take the thought of freedom viewed from Mount Whiteface a couple of steps further, I realize that I have been making a ritual of coming up this rock for the last 25 years. If I were a time traveler I would have to be careful not to bump into myself on the road up this mountain.The view is spectacular and is filled with memories of all the trips up this road I have taken. Lake Placid has never looked so good to me.  Some with pictures just like this one. So then the circles come to mind.  What other unintended circles am I making?  They are not bad circles they just repeat themselves.  Like the cylce of the seasons, like the leaves falling only to be renewed in a new spring, my trip up this mountain is hinged to the season.  Did I mention that fall is my favorite time of year?

All of this would not have come to mind if it hadn't been for what looked to me like a cross that I saw through the camara.  Lately, I have been seeing crosses everywhere.  On the door framing the the side of a that a cross that I see on the truck in front of me?

So why all of the crosses, Lord?  Is there a message here? Circles, crosses, freedom...and then as I am clicking this picture you reminded me of a verse that I have memorized half a life time ago in Bible quizzing.

John 8:36
36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Lord Jesus--Sometimes, I will be just minding my own business and all of the sudden a verse just bubbles up to the surface.  That is what happened with this little verse.  It is a verse that is a jewel set in a context of one of Your infrequent journeys to Jerusalem.  You had been confronted with the women taken in adultry and the hornet's nest of anger and judgement that surround her acquittal from that capital case against her. In the teaching that followed was the crystallization of opposition that was to lead to Your death.  The religious elite of Jerusalem deny their need for emancipation and in so doing deny the single biggest event in their national memory. They denied the very need for the exodus.

So what is the know I am a bit thick sometimes? The message is so simple and yet so elegantly profound in its setting on the moutaintop late on a Sunday afternoon.  Freedom, a cross through a camera lens, truth, mountains, sky and the water below...all knit together by your grace. The message of the cross is not circles, the message of the cross is to follow. Follow into the valley, follow when it is not wind, sun, water and sky on a Sunday afternoon. Follow when the days are sun filled, but follow just as closely when the way is rocky and darkness dogs my steps.  Follow even when I fall and have to get back up, yet again.  Follow because in the footfalls are the sound of freedom...toward the call, toward the Master...on the way home.

Lord Jesus--In the day that is going to come quicker than I would like to think lead me further along that way of the cross.  Forgive my circles lead me in the way everlasting.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tasho, Me and Jesus

More times that I like to admit I am a bit like Tasho, Lord Jesus. 

 He is so easily distracted. He will chase after any furry creature that presents itself...even through every time that he has tried catching them he has come up short. The leash catches him every time, I am not sure why he keeps trying, but he does. If there were no leash he would be totally lost before he knew it.

I can get distracted so easily. It isn't furry creatures that catch my attention...sometimes it is circumstances that have formed my life...sometimes it is desires which are not yours. No matter really what they are...I end up losing track of the direction that you pointed me in...the next thing I know I feel the pull of the leash.

Tasho's priorities are pretty simple...a couple of walks a day, food, water and attention...lots of attention. He has his rituals and expectations about these needs that if I miss them, there are bills to pay. Walks with Tasho can be dangerous to your health and can introduce you to trees in a head trauma kind of way if you are not careful.

Rituals and expectations are a part of my relationship with you at times, Lord Jesus...more that I like to admit I want things to be done on my schedule and the way I like them. Being around me at times is like a head long rush through the woods...

Tasho hates cars. He barks and lunges at them as if he can scare them away with his bark. Cars could be the end of my friend no matter how much he barks at them. Again, he reminds me of me, many times do I think that by barking and lunging at what frightens me that I can scare it away? When actually it could be just like the car and Tasho. Thank you for your protection Lord even when I am not aware of it and resentful of the tug of leash.

Tasho loves his family with all his heart...a welcome home is complete with white hair all over what ever clothing I have on at the time. Let's not mention the drool that could shower without notice. He is sure that he is the most important thing about coming home. His love is a bit of a selfish thing, he needs ear rubs, belly rubs and there are times when he just must have them.

I hope that is not the way that my love is, Lord. But I suspect, there is more selfishness than I would like to admit in my love. More concerned with my goals and ideas than I would like to admit...there are times when I somehow slip into the thinking that I should be the center of your attention and the universe for that matter.

Romans 12:9-10
9 Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good.10 Love one another warmly as Christians, and be eager to show respect for one another

Thanks for the lessons learned Lord...thinking and ruminating about a friend with white fur and copious amounts of drool.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Simple Conversation With A Friend

I had a conversation with a was after dinner and our belly's were full and we had a few minutes to talk. It was a comfortable time of reconnecting...a blessing of the Father...a perfect gift from the Father of lights.

It was a conversation set within a context of an ongoing relationship of many years...there was the strength of history in the room that night. I sensed the history...His story...the Master's work in each of our lives.

In thinking of that talk my mind settles on the texture of friendship's where we allow the Master to be a part of the mix. It doesn't have to be in a self-conscience kind of way, but in a gentle almost ethereal way. That in the middle of busy and frenetic life, the Master allows us time to ponder His goodness and grace to us continues to amaze me.

I came away from that time realizing that the Master's hand weaves and intermingles our experiences and our lives in a way that if we are aware and take the time, we can see the threads forming a pattern of mercy, of love and of grace.

You do lead beside still waters... sometimes when we least expect and are not looking for it.

Lord Jesus continue to show me the pattern of your work in my life. Help me to be aware of that work.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Notes to the Lord:Every Step Along the way...or 1/2 of a Psalm


[25.1-2] My head is high, GOD, held high; I’m looking to you, GOD; No hangdog skulking for me.   [25.3] I’ve thrown in my lot with you; You won’t embarrass me, will you? Or let my enemies get the best of me?   Don’t embarrass any of us Who went out on a limb for you. It’s the traitors who should be humiliated.

Lord Jesus--David is making a choice here.  We find out at the end of the psalm that he sees himself on a "run of bad luck." Other translations call it ""troubles."  It can feel like either one when I am in the middle of them.

David is making a decision to look to you right in the middle of the mess he finds himself in. A choice to trust even when outward circumstance would not encourage him to make that leap of faith.  When I am "out there" doing the next right thing that you put in my path it then depends on you to act.  David has the attitude of head held high with heart confident that you will work.

 [25.4] Show me how you work, GOD; School me in your ways.   [25.5] Take me by the hand; Lead me down the path of truth. You are my Savior, aren't you?

Lord Jesus--It seems like school should end at some point shouldn't it? The lessons keep coming.  Reactions that could have been more like you...ways of looking at the situations that confront me that could have been more saturated with prayer before a decision was made. You continue to be my savior...leading me along on the journey.

[25.6] Mark the milestones of your mercy and love, GOD;Rebuild the ancient landmarks!

Lord Jesus-You set out the path in the first place, you knew from the start of the journey I would be here.  It was a surprise to me but not to you. The passing of the miles at this point are noticeable.  A friend reminded me recently that you don't need an aging baby-boomer acting like a two year old.  Good point.  The adult in me knows that you are the one who are the one who give grace for the journey. If it your call for me is to be involved in rebuilding the ancient landmarks...then send the mortar and bricks.

  [25.7] Forget that I sowed wild oats; Mark me with your sign of love. Plan only the best for me, GOD!   [25.8] GOD is fair and just; He corrects the misdirected, Sends them in the right direction. 

Lord Jesus--I wonder if David's battles haunted him...the faces of those he had killed in battle...the scars on body and soul. The missteps that every leader makes that costs time and lives. Then there were the more conscious choices of self will run riot.   Sounds like the night was not always kind to David as his mind thought over the miles and the mulled over the past.

[25.9] He gives the rejects his hand, And leads them step-by-step.   [25.10] From now on every road you travel Will take you to GOD. Follow the Covenant signs; Read the charted directions.   [25.11] Keep up your reputation, GOD; Forgive my bad life; It’s been a very bad life.

Lord  Jesus--Then there are the directions. I love the thought of every road leading to you, Lord. At this point, I don't have the time or the energy for missed directions. All along the way there is the need for forgiveness and grace...grace not once but with every turn of the road every footfall and phone call.

Lord Jesus--Take this day into your keeping and use it as you will.

Peterson, Eugene H. (2006-06-15). The Message Remix 2.0: The Bible In contemporary Language (p. 737). NavPress. Kindle Edition.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Notes to the Lord: Praise, Flocks and Idols

Psalm 95

Come, let's shout praises to God, raise the roof for the Rock who saved us! Let's march into his presence singing praises, lifting the rafters with our hymns!

Father--Everyday is a call to worship. Everyday is an opportunity to lift the roof in praise for what you have done. I am surrounded on all sides by the blessings of your creation, and yet I can miss it so easily.

3-5 And why? Because God is the best,
High King over all the gods.
In one hand he holds deep caves and caverns,
in the other hand grasps the high mountains.

Father--There is no where that I can go that you are not already there and watching over hold them in your hands. The beautiful and the ugly are all a part of your creative diversity...poripine and mountain peaks 

He made Ocean—he owns it!
His hands sculpted Earth!
6-7 So come, let us worship: bow before him,
on your knees before God, who made us!
Oh yes, he's our God,
and we're the people he pastures, the flock he feeds.

Father--I am part of your flock. You own everything that surrounds me. I have no worries about a place to be...this is your creation in the first place. In looking at the place that I find myself sometimes I wonder if you are here. When I feel lost and alone on the journey, I am never in a place that you do not know intimately from the inside out. When I feel as if I am an outsider, it is time for worship.

7-11 Drop everything and listen, listen as he speaks:
"Don't turn a deaf ear as in the Bitter Uprising,
As on the day of the Wilderness Test,
when your ancestors turned and put me to the test.

The early church read this psalm as referring to Messiah. There is urgency in the following at times.Here you are speaking Father.  The reference is to the golden calf incident in the wilderness when your people worship at the feet of an idol.  The same people who had seen the Red Sea part found themselves at the feet of a golden calf that they had made from the gold plundered from Egypt.  There is irony and sadness in the incident.

I would like to think that idol worship is not anything that I have ever done...that I am somehow more sophisticated than  to do something that silly. The early church saw the similarities that I would like to overlook and distance from. Whenever I don't listen to your call, I am at the feet of a golden calf and don't even know it.

For forty years they watched me at work among them,
as over and over they tried my patience.
And I was provoked—oh, was I provoked!

'Can't they keep their minds on God for five minutes?
Do they simply refuse to walk down my road?'
Exasperated, I exploded,
'They'll never get where they're headed,
never be able to sit down and rest.'"

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Notes to the Lord:Prayer in the Half Light

Lord Jesus--The sun is not really up yet. The light is defused and muted. The day awaits and yet a pause before it begins is what I am drawn toward. A minute or two a coffee in hand a conversation with a friend to start the day. 
 I invite you to journey with me in this day.  Share this time with me the music and the coffee, but more importantly...spend the day with me.

You know me too well.  You know the way that I tend to meander along through the events of the day.  Engaged in my own thoughts, somehow distant and present at the same time.  Draw me in, Lord Jesus to your embrace.  Let me see this day, the events, the people with you beside me...having a coffee with friend.

So in the half light of this moment I invite you to be with me, because without you the light will not come either in the world around me nor in my heart.

Ephesians 3:17-19

17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.