Stand in the place where you live.
Think about the place
Where you live
Wonder why you haven't before.
In the blur of pursuit, what's missed?
In being a malcontent, who is missed?
Those responsibilities and relationships matter.
Where you live.
Where I live.
Listen. Stop and notice.
The seemingly small things are the largest. Like laying down Day 30 when a sweet voice asks for snuggles. It matters. It says, "you're loved... more than a challenge."
So, my challenge now is to look around in the place where I live.
Looking for ways to encourage. Learning to be a better listener. To love. To spread all this grace. Because, it's an abundance, you know.
Resting where God has me.
Not the unending what-ifs, could've-beens, if-onlys.
They are not true.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
What is true? This abundant life in front of me is true. The here and now.
My unmerited salvation is true. The love and responsibility for my precious, tender boys. The testimony of my marriage is true.The great need for connection in our very corner of the world is true. The importance of loving those around me. That I still fail at that is true.
God's refinement is true.
God's grace is true.
So, God, help me stop looking to the other pastures. And look at my own beautiful land. It's such fertile soil that thrives with attention.
We'll find our own pots of gold
Where the rainbow ends, we'll find home
Pot of Gold Starflyer 59
Thank you, #Write31Days for pushing this brain through October.
November, we are going to slow down a bit. To take it in. Walk the corners and see what needs tending.
And read a lot of books.
And be quiet for a spell.
...I'd go out on the ocean
and If I had a pony
I'd ride him on my boat
And we could all together
go out on the ocean
Said, me upon my pony on my boat
If I Had a Boat Lyle Lovett
All that needs doing. All that remains unfinished. All the little failures. The mundane stressors. Little explosions of frustration. Worry for the unknown and the known enough.
Oh, hey guilt. Welcome back. Just take your place on the pile.
Looking for a little anxiety relief over here, 'cause some nights are too much.
What to choose? What to choose?
Picking from the tried and not-so-true is the initial twitch. To turn the panic inward.
To fix my eyes on the mess, on the things of earth and...
Disappear in the ocean of melancholy
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5:6-11
Cast your cares.
Keep going, it's okay.
Walk through it.
Nope, no take-backs.
Collapse if you have to.
And find rest.
Where are my eyes? On the failures and frustrations?
God, take my guilt. Take my fear. Take my hatred.
Here's my panic.
And the mucky discontentment.
Lift my chin. Fix my eyes. Fix my heart.
Keep them focused on your mercies and provisions.
On my savior and not the stormy waters.
Can I get an amen, Peter?
I'm gonna wait on bended knee.
I'm Gonna Wait- Lyle Lovett
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
There is a time to write and a time to pray. Sometimes they interlock, but not today.
It is the time to focus on a beautiful girl who needs to come home.
Who needs to know how much she is loved.
So, this is all I leave you with, Day 28.
pray and pray and pray
Keep walking, honey. No one's loving you any longer. With these choices? C'mon, no turning back, now. This is you. All of you. Too late. Too far. This hell is yours." -the enemy hisses.
-but do we act the enemy?
We care a lot!
About you people, yeah you bet we care a lot!
It's a dirty job but someones gotta do it.
Faith No More We Care A Lot
Blah, blah, blah. We care a lot. So says we.
Are we safe to come home to?
Well, thank you for proving me right.One more soul to be superior over.Thanks for that.
Why, I never!
Rather than grabbing a dusty, stinky handful of the load and walking alongside in friendship. Better yet, removing the load.
Before asking honest questions with honest motives and honest ears.
Taking the easy way out.
Gossip spoken over here.
Analyzing every presumption.
So many assumptions.
So many, well, you know.
Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home........
Boy, you're gonna carry that weight,
Carry that weight a long time..
Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight/the End Paul McCartney(Beatles)
Are we standing with loving expectation as the father did with his prodigal?
Ready to release that weight.
As the son took the uncertain steps near in humility, he was met with open arms and joy!
Are we waiting to welcome the repentant with slow-to-anger, quick-to-listen hearts?
Do we know how terrifying it is for the truly broken?
Are we safe to come home to?
Or do we secretly long for the return of the stocks.
And public shaming.
Standing ready with our handy dandy label maker.
Do we watch our horrid, gossipy tongues, so that a loved-one isn't afraid that same mouth will turn on them when screw-ups are brought to light. So that they aren't imprisoned by fear.
Of a box.
Of everything they know they deserve.
"Cause, you know, we all deserve it.
I deserve it.
You deserve it.
Someone made a way.
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
One of my favorite scenes in a movie. I've thought a lot about in this year, though I've not watched it since elementary school. From The Mission with Robert DeNiro.
Sit with it.
Timothy Keller also has a great sermon on the Prodigal Sons. Link here. #75
Makeup on their faces
Actors took their places
Next to me
Carnival Natalie Merchant
The trap of our own performances.
Stand right next to you.
You can't see me.
I can't see you.
Play your role.
I know mine, very well. Thank you.
That mad method is glazing over our eyes.
Nope. nope. Just stick to the script. please.
On your mark.
You can't see me.
How many little earthquakes until we turn to look?
And look long and quiet enough to see each other in full.
With ears perked up.
And tongues ready with a spoken word of grace.
It's loneliest in a room full of stranger friends.
As we attempt to inhabit these characters.
All greasepaint mixed with nervous sweat.
If I call cut. Drop the curtain.
Say, "Hello. I'm a bit of a dizzy mess over here. Forgotten all my lines."
What do you suppose would happen?
Could we burn our screen-written pages and the masks of the old men?
And kill this fear with love and mercy?
But that is not the way you learned Christ! assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Let's stop the charade, for I'm no Audrey.
You're dark grey like a storm cloud
Swelling up with rain that is desperate to be let out
And I know it’s a heavy load carrying those tears around
Carrying those fears around
Worry makes the world go round......
Burn the Pages Sia
Little Earthquakes Tori Amos
Hello Goodbye The Beatles
"Sin breeds in the dark." Benji Magness
Those dark recesses of shame and fear.
Everyday should be like Sunday, with gospel illumination
So, I write because........
i forget just how deadly my sin is
i forget how God has loved
i forget the truth
i forget His victories
i forget my need
i forget to "gaze upon the beauty of the Lord" ( see psalm 24:7)
My stones of remembrance are in these little ditties.
You are invited to "come and see" the safety and relief in the exposing light of the gospel.
And the hiding places disappear.
All is burned away.
God, don't let my eyes turn away. Keep that light burning.
Not silent and grey.
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.
Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning 77s (77s.com)
My sermon-struck playlist this morning looked like this.
I was hopeless and broken
You opened the door for me
Yeah I was hiding and you let the light in
And now I see
Dressed in Black - Sia
hearts and thoughts they fade...away...
hearts and thoughts they fade...away...
hearts and thoughts they fade, fade away...
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town - Pearl Jam
Sometimes I cry
In a world that's dark
Torn apart at the seams
Sometimes I cry
For I am weak
Light of the world
Please, come shine on me
As I Am - The Violet Burning
In this forsaken life
Your light poured down on me
The Light Poured Down On Me -The Violet Burning (violetburning.com)
Everyday is Like Sunday Morrissey
So, check out today's sermon here when it's up. Goodness upon goodness.
In the meantime, listen to the chocolate/bacon/donut one. Happy Sunday, friends.
"It is all beautifully, messily intertwined, this family stuff!"
Yeah, I quoted myself. Don't judge. You're not allowed to judge. Well, actually that's not entirely true. Okay, judge away. I welcome it.
God has ordained that we live together. That our paths are intertwined. Inextractable from each other. The plank and the speck removals are in sync. We don't do one without the other. Or the other without the one.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
1 Corinthians 12:21-26
We are to be sharpening as we're being sharpened.
Loving as we're being loved.
Correcting as we're taking correction.
You just got served! Great. Be serving.
We are a body, with many parts. If one part is sick, the entire body is affected.
I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.
I Am The Walrus Beatles
We are not the judge of the heart. Only God has the wisdom and insight for that. Um, not to mention, the sinless motives.
“I the Lord search the heart
and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds.”
However, are we to ignore a weakened, ill part of our body? No. But notice with what care we are to do it.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself
As Paul encouraged the church of the Thessalonians.
And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
1 Thessalonians 5:14-15
I shiver to think of where I would be if my family of believers had excused or ignored my poor, deceived, and utterly destructive choices.
SHIVER! SHAKE! TREMBLE!
Have nightmares on a regular basis.
No thank you.
The ripple effects are too numerous and awful. That would not be love. For anyone.
To be sure, it is uncomfortable and down right painful. It's wound care.
Of course, we are tender to criticism. It hurts. Not everyone does it with the purpose of grace and restoration. There are too many wounds of arrogance and control disguised as rebuke within church families not to have a reaction to judgement of our actions. But Jesus himself laid out a perfect plan and motive for correcting a brother. And we are to follow it. It starts with humble, discreet dialogue between the two.
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
"You have gained your brother." Your brother!
We have to be ready with humility in our owns hearts to give and receive correction. Giving our hearts to God over and over during the process to check our own defensiveness and pride and limited wisdom in giving such correction. Allowing the Holy Spirit to bring to light our owns sins and errors in the process, with honesty.
See what happens here? We are being refined together. At the same time, within what should be the safety of our family.....our own body. We are to care for it the same, seeking wholeness.
Know, as always, that I write as God is working on my heart. In my own accountability.
I mean, I got snippy when someone asked me to sit down at a rock show the other night.
hello! how dare you! grumble, grumble,grumble.....
seriously, i am so humble with correction, right?
So when you're all as perfect as me.........
With love, goodnight day 24.
And remember. Liebe über Alles.
Love and love alone
Will outlast death
I played around with the planks and speck back in June with live together,die alone. Give it a read, if you're so inclined.
1 Corinthians is also filled with wisdom for the church in this area.
Beatles Come Together
I'm Working On A Building 77s
Sometimes everything is wrong
Now it's time to sing along
R.E.M. Everybody Hurts
This one goes out to the ones I love.
The precious ones who invited me in to sit close with your pain. Let me pick up the words of anger. Who've transmitted a smidge of their grief through held hands.
Bless you for the trusted moments of raw grief when no answers suffice. The gift of listening to the transmissions of the tear-soaked songs. Learning the stories. These ears have picked up some wavelengths that otherwise would not have come through.
Stories not my own.
For being merciful in expectation.
Teaching things I could not know.
For letting me love you up close.
Trusting me with your tender moments.
These tunes have shaped they way I hear others in their pain and sing through my own.
Thinking about you through October, especially. Life in Stereo has its roots in your hymns of vulnerability.
I love you.
The One I Love R.E.M.
Trouble Me 10000 Maniacs
Our journey has brought us here. A journey of God's love for out family. For all families, as I was so sweetly reminded today by a beautiful friend. This post could be a book, heavy with His provision and battle for our little unit. The myriad ways He made it evident that He is watching, listening, leading, with a vested interest in the outcome.
But, ain't nobody got time for that. At least tonight.
"Cause we in the city.
Only as a result of God has bringing us together with Open Arms.
And Clay says that writing is not the agenda tonight. So the midnight ramblings will have way for Day 23. Journey, here we come.
When the lights go down in the City
And the sun shines on the bay
I want to be there in my City
So, Don't Stop Believin'
See how this sappy post began with Mixtape from Day 7.
Because we need a Pedro to our Napoleon. A Steven to our Nacho. You quiet, steady friends are a balancing force to the sometimes-crazy. Just speakin' for myself, folks. Living lives of genuine faith, with discipline and elegance. Yeah, yeah, we see plenty of posturing and pretenders. But a beautiful few ain't fakin. That becomes evident watching lives lived out in front of you. The day to day. I watch you love with Christ's love because you really just love Christ and his people. Who love the broken, without breaking things yourselves. Instead of intimidation (even though there is a little of that, naturally), I appreciate seeing the possibility of a God-honoring, loving faithful life with humble obedience to our savior. Without the dramatics. Sure, I've seen your pain and struggles. Only because in your love, you've graciously allowed it to be seen. Up close, in true friendship. I see sacrifice, humbly and quietly offered. I see consistency in priorities. I see firm foundations.
I've been the recipient of your loving wisdom. Your gentle kisses of admonishment. Your discretion. Your faith.
There's grace for the messy, but I love you, steadies.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy
Iron sharpens iron,
and one man sharpens another.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Because it is supremely awesome!! Napolean Dynamite Dancing
White Stripes We're Going To Be Friends
No Doubt Simple Kind of Life