Monthly Archives: March 2007

fire in the hills

About 5-10 minutes from where we live, a 100+ acre fire in Griffith Park / Hollywood Hills.

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thoughts on speaking…

As I have been preparing to speak at Kairos this weekend, I read the following…

“In doing this, we of course are not just counting on our own cleverness & ability but stand in expectation of help from the Spirit of truth who is constantly at work in the disciples of Jesus. We do all we do in the knowledge that we are working alongside him. Moreover, we do this kind of work hand in hand with the cultivation of the mind & spirit through art & imagination, poetry and song, praise, prayer, and worship. These all help our minds to lay hold of this God, this most lovable being in all of reality.”

This thought has been helpful to me, in preparation for communicating. It is so good for me to remember that I need not rely on my own cleverness or ability, but rely on help for the Spirit of truth.

Another thought that I read years & years ago, that I have gone over many times when I have prepared to speak at a conference – or wherever, is the following by St. Thomas.

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It is said that he frequently recited this before he dictated, wrote, or preached.

Ineffable (too great for description in words) Creator,
Who, from the treasures of Your wisdom,
have established three hierarchies of angels,
have arrayed them in marvelous order
above the fiery heavens,
and have marshaled the regions
of the universe with such artful skill,

You are proclaimed
the true font of light and wisdom,
and the primal origin
raised high beyond all things.

Pour forth a ray of Your brightness
into the darkened places of my mind;
disperse from my soul
the twofold darkness
into which I was born:
sin and ignorance.

You make eloquent the tongues of infants.
Refine my speech
and pour forth upon my lips
the goodness of Your blessing.

Grant to me
keenness of mind,
capacity to remember,
skill in learning,
subtlety to interpret,
and eloquence in speech.

May You
guide the beginning of my work,
direct its progress,
and bring it to completion.

You who are true God and true Man,
Who live and reign, world without end. Amen


Sunset blvd @ sunset

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…driving down Sunset Blvd last night, on our way to Eugene’s & Eun Chu’s for small group (canvas group). My camera on my phone, did not do the sight justice. It was an astonishing urban sunset.

& then I read this today in the Divine Conspiracy that reminded me of the sunset…

“In training ourselves or others for fullness of life in The Kingdom Among Us, the first task is to present our Father, the one in the heavens, as maker & sustainer of everything else, of “heaven & earth.â€? From the very beginning of the Judeo-Christian experience, he is understood to be “God most highâ€? (El Elyon), creator & therefore possessor of “heaven & earthâ€?

The basis for this assurance about God lies in the common understanding or impression that all of “natural’ reality, including you and me, owes its existence & therefore its astonishing order & magnificence to something other than itself. We have no experience of any natural object or event that is self-sustaining…

The famous Greek philosopher Epictetus, a contemporary to Peter & Paul, commented that “any one thing in the creation is sufficient to demonstrate a providence to a modest & grateful mind. Paul himself explains that all human beings remain responsible, no matter how far they fall, because of the clear way in which God stands forth in natural reality. “Since the creation of the world,” he says “God’s invisible nature is clearly present to their understand through what has been made.” (Romans 1:19-20)

Some words that I was reminded of regarding our God, the Creator…

1 Peter 3:19 So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you (your faithful creator), for he will never fail you.

Genesis 14:18-19 Then Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought him bread and wine. Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing:“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.
20 And blessed be God Most High, who has helped you conquer your enemies.�

Jeremiah 32:17 “O Sovereign LORD! You have made the heavens and earth by your great power (& outstretched arm). Nothing is too hard for you!


Starbucks wisdom

Many days living out here in Hollywood/LA — seems like a surreal adventure, as we are (by the grace of God) — attempting to continue planting missional churches in the urban area of LA. Other days — it does not feel like an adventure — it just feels like survival.

With that in mind, I went to Starbucks early this morning to drink coffee, to read, and to collect my thoughts. I read the following quote on the back of my Starbucks cup

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It is by Maria Fadiman, a geographer, ethnobotanist (not sure what that means?), and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and her quote goes like this:

“I used to think that going to the jungle made my life an adventure. However, after years of unusual work in exoctic places, I realize that it is not how far off I go or how deep into the forest I walk that gives my life meaning. I see that LIVING LIFE FULLY is what makes my life- anyone’s life, no matter where they do or do not go- an adventure”.

#233 The Way I See It…

That is a good thought for all of us to remember. One does not have to move to the end of the earth – for life to be an adventure. Living fully in Christ today — makes one’s life full.

God’s peace.


Hybels quote on the local church

Hello again. Sorry I have been away for such a long time…

In my younger days, I used to read a fair amount of stuff by Bill Hybels, the pastor at Willow Creek. I have not read anything by him in a long time — not sure why that is?

Anyway, I picked a book off of his, of my shelf this week — Courageous Leadership:

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The book has really challenged me, and blessed me at the same time. I am not sure if I agree 100% with everything he says about the local church, but the vast majority of it — is great stuff.

Here is a one quote that especially gripped me. He is talking about working with people in Washington D.C. :

“What I discovered was not how powerful those people are, but how limited their power really is. All they can do is rearrange the yard markers on the field of life. They can’t change a human heart. They can’t heal a wounded soul. They can’t turn hatred into love. They can’t bring about repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, peace. They can’t get to the core problem! Businessmen can provide sorely needed jobs. Wise educators can teach useful knowledge of the world. Self-help programs can offer effective methods of behavior modification. Advanced psychological techniques can aid self-understanding. And all this is good, but can any of it truly transform the human heart?

I believe that only one power exists on this sorry planet that can do that. It’s the power of the love of Jesus Christ�the love that conquers sin and wipes out shame and heals wounds and reconciles enemies and patches broken dreams and ultimately changes the world one life at a time. And what grips my heart every day is the knowledge that the radical message of that transforming love has been given to the church.

This means the future of the world rests in the hands of local congregations like yours and mine. It’s the church or it’s lights out. Without churches so filled with the power of God that they can’t help but spill goodness and peace and love and joy into the world, depravity will win the day; evil will flood the world. But it doesn’t have to happen that way. Strong, growing communities of faith can turn the tide of history.�

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out, that it caused me to think about Kairos & what we are trying to do – through the power of God, to advance the Kingdom out here.

…great thoughts — especially the last… ‘Strong, growing communities of faith can turn the tide of history

Pray for us — that that would be more & more a reality here in the middle of L.A.


joy

We had a meeting last night with our leaders / equippers for our small groups….

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We covered a lot of good things, and strategized many good things, and set some great goals — but more than anything — we laughed together (a lot). As simple as that seems — it was fun to simply, really enjoy each others company. It was, in a word — a joyful time.

It caused me to think of this quote by Willard today:

“Joy is our portion in his fellowship. Joy goes with confidence and creativity. It is His joy, and that is not a small joy or a repressed ‘joy’. It is a robust joy, with no small element of outright hilarity in it. For nothing less than joy can sustain us in the kingdom… that possesses us, which truly is a weighty and powerful thing to bear. It was not for nothing that Mother Teresa of Calcuutta required her sisters of charity to be people who smile.” — from the Divine Conspiracy


…it is Christ who empowers us

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It is not we who do Christ the favor of worshiping him; it is Christ who empowers us by strengthening us, and enabling us to fight for the things that are worth fighting for, the things that endure; and that is a promise worth fighting for, worth dying for, and worth living for.

Peter Gomes — excerpt from “Strength for the Journey.”