Tired of Simplistic Faith

God, I'm tired of simplistic faith!
And simplistic teaching on faith
Simplistic lists of sins
That leave most of us feeling 
     self-satisfied with ourselves
     noble in helping others
     along with a little bit of pity
     ...disguised as compassion
"Come to the Cross,
     and everything will be okay"
That's all it takes?
What does that mean anyway?
Does it help us?
Does it help anyone?

And it bugs me
That this sort of thing is still
So prevalent
It seems we may be
Doing more harm than good
Inoculating people
Against true faith
When they get a chance
To finally hear it

Greetings Friend!

Hi there,
It was good to see you again today.
As you came close
I suddenly realized
How nice it was
    It's been a LONG time

There you were
Feeling light and free
Enjoying people
Enjoying strangers
The elderly lady who was friendly
    Sitting beside her on the bus
Chatting, about 
    the city
    what it's like to be retired
Noticing and enjoying the exuberant little girl
    Walking home from school with her grandmother
A smile for the woman walking her dog
Letting a young man know
    "I also like those little croissants
    ---bought some yesterday."

I saw you there
Just a few glimpses today
I wonder if you'll be coming back
More regularly
Stay for longer
I'd like that
I really would

I wonder what sort of space and time
Is needed for that to happen
Maybe you were never meant
To come back permanently
    You've changed in the absence
    I don't even know what I'm looking for
When I yearn to see the "real you" again

The me I want to be
More often
For longer
I wonder what it will take

You Will Always Struggle... (Notes for the Journey #1)

You will always struggle to figure out how to live a healthy life.
Do not be surprised at this!

Your dreams are huge. New people and ideas keep coming. New projects start. You are changing. Your life is changing. Your body is changing. Those you work with are changing. All along the way you will discover new things about yourself, your energy levels, what inspires, what drains. There will be a continuing need to reexamine and then adjust, based on the new understanding that you have.  

Do not be discouraged at this need for continual discovery and change. Do not give in to the misplaced idea that because you have not yet "figured it out," somehow you have failed. 

What will work for you, will not work for someone else. What works for them, probably wouldn't work for you. YES! Learn from others. YES! Adopt and adapt time-tested principles. YES! Take on their wisdom and use it in your own life. But you are not "them" (whoever "they" are), and "they" are not you. 

Lay down this idea that "getting it right" or finally "figuring it out" should somehow be your goal, or that it is even possible. Drop the all-or-nothing thinking that leads you to either focus on "figuring it out" or giving up via the many ways you can run. 

Just live.


Know that you are loved, you are valuable, what you do matters, and this all while you are so NOT "figured out."

Learn to live each day in hope. Learn to live each day, each moment, making the wise choice for that time. Yes, keep setting aside those times to stop and evaluate and strategize to make the adjustments needed based on what you see now. But do not expect it to be perfect. Don't even hope for that. Realize and embrace the reality that even the new (better) plan will need to flex, change, and someday it may be scrapped altogether. It will serve your journey for the time it was needed, and that is enough.

Again, take a deep breath.
Life is good.
Live it exuberantly.
Live it well.
In all your glorious, imperfect messiness. 

I'm...Just me

It hit a again
That sudden feeling of dismay
(or maybe it was envy?)
I see a good work an organization is doing
And, their organization, and ability to tap into resources
They have so much to offer
They do so many things so well

But me
I'm mostly just full of dreams
And plugging away at little things
That don't really seem to amount to much

Sometimes I wish
That somewhere
Out of the blue
Would drop in
Some people
With amazing abilities
And initiative 
To organize
Help us make what we have
Available to more people

But...I'm just me
We're just us
But with dreams
And a bit of stamina
Here we are
Staying in the process
Being formed
Hoping, somehow
It will all make a difference

I think it is
I think it has
For some people
I hope it goes deep
I guess it's enough
It'll have to be

Do not despise the day of small things
Who are you to ask or expect to be someone else, or receive a different path? Just walk this one well. Keep learning to walk this one well...

Starting to feel again...

Maybe I am
starting to feel again
I've been
I've felt
for so long

   from me
   from feeling much of anything
rather numb, I guess
and I've wondered why

I still don't know why
not completely
I suspect it's related to this rather long season
a big transition 
with many 
Perhaps in the process
living with a constant undercurrent
of tension
     so many decisions
     so many unknowns
I don't let myself feel
lest the feelings overwhelm
and drown me

maybe I'm moving again
into a place where I can breathe, again
I can figure out what it means to be me, again
get excited about going forward, again

But for now
I'm thankful
I can sense
I'm starting to feel again

    the pain of situations happening far away
    the loneliness of missing family
    some of that overwhelm again

No, the overwhelm, is not fun
there is so much ahead
    so much to face
    so much to learn how to do
    so many to whom I am responsible
    so many directions in which my head goes

But with the overwhelm
at least there is something to figure out
    and face
At least I'm not just in denial
    shut down

Perhaps, in the feeling again
I can even
once again 
start to feel 
connected to God, again
    and I think...that's what I've missed most

Words Fail

Written Mar. 30, 2017

So many times lately...I just don't have words. 
Well, not that I don't have words, but...I start to have some
And then the other side of the thing pops up
Other aspects
Other nuances
Or...the opposite extreme is also true
And the story becomes so big and complicated
I no longer know where to begin
Or if I should

Maybe I just need to sit in the reality longer
Not needing to write
Not needing to tell
Not needing to express

Well...I find
I just don't want to...write, tell, express

So much is going on
so much in so many directions
I don't even know what it really is
What the essence is

and ... let   go

God, is it You?

God, is it You?

Is it You that has called me?
Is it You that spoke?
Did You speak to me through Isa. 58
Leading me to think that the next decades 
   will be spent
   doing that

If it was You
If You want me to do this
(and I have no other possibilities 
or options going through my head right now),
Then You're going to need to provide

I suppose You know all that is needed
I suppose You know all about
...the ideas
...the people
...the money
...the buildings
...the organizational structures
...the coordination
...the communication
and whatever else
that will be needed. 

Yeah, so, if You want this done...
Please lead me
Please show me 
What to do
How to live

And please hold me
At peace


It's that feeling again
Of being ripped apart
Having life to live 
And people I love
   on two sides of the ocean
I like each of the places
   when I am there
I can be excited about the other place
   when I think of it
And yet the leaving is hard
And seems to get harder
It's inevitable I guess
Unless I were to
   disengage my heart

Connecting to Myself

Not too long ago I finally cried when talking to God about something at night. The next thought was, "Oh it's good to finally be connecting with You again." And then I realized..."No, I am actually finally connecting with myself."

For some reason it's been hard again, these days...to connect to me--to know what I'm really feeling, and why...to process it all. 

Little sister had a baby this week--a baby born soon followed by testing, procedure #1, then surgery for an in utero known congenital heart problem. The tension and relief of all that--helped the tears to come, and I was glad.

I wonder what's going on with me. I wonder how to see it all. I understand some of it. Some I don't know. And I'm not quite sure what to do. 

And for some reason I'm now less eager to pour it all out...even here...

How Long Will I be Here?

Someone I know and respect lost his brother this week. He posted this music video. Ever since I watched it the words and melody have been running through my head.

The man who died--sounds like he was an amazing person, and a blessing to many.
He was 54 when he died.

I am 46.
Many have not made it to the age I am now.
A cousin was only 19 when he succumbed to cancer.
An uncle was only 42 when he left this world.

Some of my great aunts have lived long lives.
They would joke around--"One of our sisters died when she was young, she was 59." (Or was it 69?) Yes, they mostly lived well into their 90's, one (at least) past 100.

And so I ponder again this question: How long will I be here?
Not sure how much time I should spend pondering it.
At this point I don't know the answer, and don't really need to know.

And yet to stop and feel it, the poignancy and mystery of the brevity of life, and the reality that it is beyond our control--not a bad thing.
Somehow, it seems, it is important to learn to hold this reality, to live humbly before it.
And somehow it's important to then, not fritter away our days, make sure they are invested for what matters, lived well--stewarding well the "talents" entrusted to us.

Captured again

It amazes me, You know
How You do it
How You capture and inspire my heart
Again and again
Just when I wonder
If I'm too tired
If I'll ever know again
   the "me" that I'm meant to be
   the "me" that is alive to You
When I think I can't hear anymore
When I wonder if I'm dying
Or if I've permanently lost something
You capture my heart again

Last week it was through the book Chasing Fireflies. Oh my, what an amazing story! I cried several times (and laughed too). And through it, and by the end, and the author's personal reflection--You, pulling me, wrecking me actually, igniting again, or deepening, that passion for...to encourage and help young guys, to see them find healing and encouragement, to be amazing and good men--husbands, fathers--in the future!

I'm sure the messages I heard by N.T. Wright yesterday were also a part of renewing and refreshing, refocusing my eyes, my heart, reminding me of Your beauty, the privilege of having Your Word, of knowing Jesus.

Today, it is a song (or maybe more than one song...discovering a group I hadn't heard of--a few great songs!)--Wild Heart, by Urban Rescue. Yes, it brought tears...but maybe because I was needing to cry...to really connect again, or...first to acknowledge, that it's big, that it sometimes feels hard, very hard, and to bring it to You. But in this song, something touched me, something resonated...something in the song resonated with something already true and real and deep, down solid in me...

And in the tears
I know again
That I am alive

Ah...I know
I shouldn't doubt
You are the God who renews and refreshes
You promise to do these things
You, God of the resurrected Jesus
Of course You can resurrect
    and renew
    and revive
    even me.

Thank you.

Urban Rescue

Ooh, hadn't heard of this group before, but...I like this song:

And this one is good too--His Name

Courageously Wait

Wait patiently for the LORD.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.
Ps, 27:24, NLT

Yes, it does require courage...


That's the other word that describes how I have felt lately
Even longer than three weeks
Off and on

Disconnected from myself
Disconnected from emotions at times
Not really sure of what is what
Of who I am
Or how to properly judge
(or if I am)
How I am doing
From God's perspective
From a bigger perspective

And sometimes I've wondered 
If I was able to feel properly
Perhaps I'd be more excited
On meeting that person
Or in that discussion
If it was another time
Another place
A more integrated me

I'm moving into the rest that is needed
I'm hoping and believing it will help
To get to the place
Once again
Of knowing who I am
And where I am
In You


That has been the reoccurring feeling
Lessening now
But frequent upon landing
On this side of the world
The side that I'm supposed to call "home"
(There really is no "home" now,
that I know, or feel,
only one I hope for,
but that is another topic.)

I don't like the feeling
But it is good to recognize it
And maybe it is good that it exists
And comes to the forefront, 
Due to this shifting between locations.

I stop, often, and ponder the 'why' of the feeling
Where it comes from
Why it is there
And what might bring "settling"

The "why"
Actually probably "why's"
As there are probably several
Part of it is just a natural thing I think
Of not being used to this environment
These social settings
Not knowing how to behave
Or what are the correct or expected behaviours
And there is, behind that then,
The wanting to fit in, to "get it right"
Sometimes it has been a concern about how others see me,
Whether I am properly fitting in with their expectations
There may be other reasons and aspects

And there has been an awareness
That what will bring settling
Is knowing I am okay
Knowing Your love
Knowing You hold all things
I've thought of many words of Dallas Willard
About being free from all these worries
Being at peace--a pervasive sense of well-being
Knowing all is okay
Not needing to push for something with other people
Not wanting or needing them to see me in any particular way

So I'm thankful for the feelings
And the awareness that has been there
All along
And the moments of pause
To look to You
To ask for help
To grow
To learn
To change

I am held by You
I am loved by You
And the more I know it
The more I am settled

All the dreams that haven't happened

I don't know why it's there...
Suddenly, open, in Word...
A document from ... before...
Back when we were planning
When there was excitement
About doing things together...
But that is over now...
That one...with them...
And it hurts

And I think of others
How many times that has happened
What do I DO with all of this
What am I supposed to do?
How do I find hope again?
Why should I try?
Or think that if I do try again, with others,
That somehow it might actually go forward?

These are memories...that haunt
That hurt
Lord, what do I do with these--
Memories of hopes...raised, then dashed
And the dreams and visions 
That invite (or is it taunt?) me now?

(mostly written Dec. 23, 2015)

He prowls this way?

It's incredible, and eerie
The similarities between today
And Feb. 5, 2015
And the only reason I notice
Is it connects to the same one person
(that I rarely connect with)
And today I've reviewed what I wrote then.

Yes, both times around a person, the same person
    someone--these are the only two times of contact in this year
Then it seemed You brought him to mind
As I was in a time of praying and seeking
And You wanted me to ask him
To invite him to come work with us
For the guys
And I did
Well, I tried to
But I did my part
I sent a message
Tried to connect on the phone
He didn't want to talk it seemed
Brushed it of
Sent a text message saying someone else would explain

But today we talked
Yesterday he had sent a text message saying he wanted to
And I've heard about Your leading
And that he will come
And this is a great encouragement
This is a time of great joy
Or...it should be

But at the same time
I've come to the end of myself
Almost despairing
Around other things
And the inability to move forward
And pain
And frustration
And I stumbled on
Something else I wrote
Yes, almost despairing
Not knowing how to go forward
Feeling utterly alone

Is this...just simply part of the battle?
Is this what battle looks like?
On one hand, the fight, the push
For this person, to grow, move forward
And step into blessing others
And the fight within me

Is it that the enemy comes to discourage at this time?
Why? Just to make it harder?
Does he think I'm going to quit? Or give up?
I'm not. That's not going to work
Or maybe His effectiveness is in throwing up a smoke screen
Or sand in the eyes
Distracting the focus
Decreasing effectiveness
Time wasted for lack of seeing what is happening
And energetically responding

(written Jan. 11, 2016)


What would you do if you could do anything?

Yeah, so, if there were no limits, no constraints, how would I spend my life? What would I choose?

Heard this question on a Michael Hyatt podcast with Greg McKeown (author of Essentialism) today. It was a question that changed the direction of his life. I guess this one is meant to open up our thinking, to get past areas where we might have been living assuming we were locked in, thinking we had no choice. 

So, what would I do. He (Greg) made a list. Maybe I should do some brainstorming, and see where it takes me.

What would you do if you were not afraid?

I heard this one in a video by Sheryl Sandberg. She says it is a question Mark Zuckerberg asks them at Facebook--and it's posted on the walls there. I guess it's meant to encourage us to NOT let fear be the determining factor in our lives, to figure out where fear is hindering or holding us back. Yes, it IS pretty sad if choices get made, or things don't get done, only because of fear.

How many times does God say, "Do not fear," "Do not be afraid," "Be strong and courageous"? To the things He is leading in, for the things he wants us to do, and to do through us, fear cannot be the reason we don't do it, don't go forward. I guess this question then helps to clarify, and point out the areas where fear is a problem. I've done it before, identified my fears, brought them to God, heard His answers and known Him to reduce my fears or, find courage to do it anyway.

So, what would I do if I was not afraid? Figure out a way to do those things.

What would you attempt if you knew that you could not fail?

This one kind of bugs me, but it's related, so I'm posting it. It's on a sticky note on my wall. I just noticed it again recently. It's dated 2007.05.11--yep, that old--from something I saw at Sparkpeople.com. Why does it bug me? Because we CAN fail. Maybe what I attempt will fail. What is more important to learn, I think, is to not be afraid of failure--something that sank in for me a little more through several message heard in the World Leaders Webcast one year, but especially from Craig Groeschel's message on Pushing Through the Fear of Failure.

So, I almost wonder if this question should be rephrased to something like: What is a goal so worth pursuing, that even if you failed, and failed many times along the way, it would still be worth doing, worth risking?or Isn't what you're pursuing worth risking it, even if you fail? Because...you might succeed... or What is a goal so worth pursuing, that you should do it, even if the chance of success is only 5%? You should still do it, and even if you fail, maybe others will come along and do better, and even their success will be worth it.

Oh, I don't know, and I haven't thought enough about the answers to these questions, at least not in any precise and concise way recently, but they do seem to be questions worth pondering, and questions that might give clarity for what needs to be resolved in order to go forward.

to "get" Christmas

So, why did You do it? 
Why did You come?
I'm not getting it this year.
Nothing is sinking in.

Is this it?
There You were
Looking down at us
Wanting more for us
So You decided
To come
To show us
Your heart
Your love

To show us what God is like
To rescue us
To save us
Wanting to change the way You related with us
To come close
To expand Your reach
More effectively
Beyond just one people group

So that we would forever know
And get it

I'm starting to 'get it'
And yet I don't

I've been thinking (again) recently...
The older I get
The less I have answers that would seem 
   to make sense 
   to anyone else

But the older I get
The more deeply I am also convinced 
   my need for You
   and the 'proof' within
The goodness You are, that draws me
And this, in itself
Must prove I have been somewhat changed
To recognize You for who You are

I choose faith again
(And I guess I'm on a bit of a Chris Tomlin roll today)

A New Theme

I wonder if his might be the theme, or part of it, for this next season--maybe even the next two years. By "this" I mean some ideas in this song. There are a lot of ideas...lots, yes, ALL of it could be the theme. I'm listening to the song, over and over again. 

Although I'm a little hesitant to do so, as it might be a huge over-simplification, I guess it could be summarized by the words "Abide in me." 

Abide in Me.

For years I have loved, and kept coming back to John 15, and the words, images, invitation and commands there. When I've heard the words in the past, I've usually heard them as Jesus' invitation to me--to abide in Him. But what He says is, "Abide in me, and I in you." (John 15:4, ESV). (Other versions use "remain," and I think of that word too.)  However this song turns it around, and invites Jesus to "abide in me, let my branches bear Your fruit."

One season has ended, a new one is beginning. Maybe it's not that significant, but then again, maybe it is. Just over three years ago a friend and I started Journey with Jesus: Discovering the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, and that was the guidance for daily prayer time for about 13 months. It was life-changing. I want to go through it again sometime. Then, for two years we've used A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants. This one has also been wonderful. I'll probably come back to it too. 

In these past three years the daily readings and prayer times have taken me deeper with the Lord, often through shorter Scripture passages, and a different way of interacting with Him, hearing Him, and it has been beautiful!

And yet, after three years, I'm feeling like it's been a long time since I've read lots of parts of the Bible. I'm wanting to go back at it again, to read it again, to hear it again. I want to hear and see the themes again, from where I am now. I want to know what the Lord might say to me this time.

And so now it's a two year plan (still not very fast) of simply reading through the whole bible again, extending this plan (I DO like reading in various places!) to 104 weeks.

And I've been trying to find an expression for what I am looking for, or for what I feel the Lord is inviting me to now. There are several parts to it, but this song just might summarize a fair bit of it.


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