Mysterious Eminence

My Photo
Location: Huaraz, Ancash, Peru

Having mastered the University of Montana's IYFD program, I journeyed to Peru with the US Peace Corps. Currently, I'm discovering Peru while living in the gorgeous Andes mountains in beautiful Ancash. Come visit!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


“It was nothing more and nothing less than a simple meeting of Paul with Jesus. That ended Paul's struggle; that ended his resistance. From that day on this remarkable man became a bond slave of Jesus Christ; he was mastered by Jesus. There in Jesus he met God; he met the Son of God; he met Someone who had a complete claim on his life. He met his Creator - his Savior - his Mediator.

There was no longer any argument or room for discussion. He laid down his life at Jesus’ feet, and said, “Lord, I'm Yours. What do You want me to do? What are Your orders? I'm Yours.” He had never called Jesus "Lord" before that time, but in that one word you see Paul's transformation.” – Paul Lindell

Talk to God for just one second, but all I want you to say is, “Lord.” It’s a powerful word, if you really think about the meaning of what you are saying. When we allow God to be the Lord of our life, we’re asking to be his servants. That’s some tough stuff. Who wants to be someone else’s servant, and yet how many times do we want the answers and direction to everything. “Will someone just tell me what I should do with my life?” “Should I date/marry this person?” “Should I do thing A or thing B?”

A few minutes ago, I said to God that one word, “Lord.” For some reason it was powerful, because I understood it in the terms that Paul understood it. That it’s not a light title we banter around like Ms., Mrs., Sugar-pants, whatever. It’s not a statement, it’s a request that God will take control. That he is in control. And it’s not easy to say. It may take some practice, and even then it will be a long time before any of us master it. But God is good and he will take the responsibility of being our Lord seriously. He will not leave us, nor forsake us. He is a good Lord and Master, if we just allow him to be.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Be still...

"Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord" Exodus 14:13

Pretty good advice considering how much work I always feel I have to do to actually see the salvation of the Lord. I put so much pressure on myself "to do," "to accomplish," "to succeed" at everything, but that's not God's call on our life. The call is to allow God to work through us. Now I'm not advocating the sit there and do nothing mentality. God is not lax, but he should be in control. I need to remember that he, not me, is the key to salvation. And he does not need me, but he loves me - and that is even greater.

Monday, April 18, 2005


This Saturday I was at church working on one of the many neglected bulletin boards in the church when some of my friends invited me along to go to the Bison Range outside of Ravalli. I didn't have anything better to do, so I thought why not? I jumped in the big Suburban and the 7 of us were off on an adventure.

When is the last time you were available to just spend time with people? Have you booked our schedule so solid that if Jesus wanted a quick visit, you'd be too busy? I know that I have, and I'm so thankful for the fun and rewarding times I get that are not scheduled.

We had such a blast cruising around checking out the bison. They really are neat animals, and very large. Currently, they are supposed to be in the birthing season, but we didn't get to see any give birth, but that's okay. We did get to eat Bison burgers and throw a Frisbee around an outhouse. What great stories to be able to share with each other down the road.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Interrupted Plans by Elisabeth Elliott

I thought this was a great add-on to yesterday's blog. I can't tell you how many times I've made plans that weren't God's. Good thing he's in control because he always knows best.

We like things to go smoothly and as planned. Very often unexpected things intervene, and our plans go awry. We think we've got "problems." There is another level at which everything that happens is being engineered. "God has no problems," Corrie ten Boom said, "only plans." When ours are interrupted, his are not. His plans are proceeding exactly as scheduled, moving us always (including those minutes or hours or years which seem most useless or wasted or unendurable) "toward the goal of true maturity" (Rom 12:2 JBP). Believe God. Turn the interruptions over to Him. He is at the controls.

Monday, April 11, 2005

When God Interrupts

Sometimes the church life seems as busy as school. If I get even slightly involved in a Bible Study, Small Group, or Sunday School class, I get overwhelmed with all of the extra work that comes with it. I am currently the happy participant of a Sunday School class studying the gospel of John, a Wednesday night study of Colossians, a Church-wide study of The Purpose Drive Life, my own personal study of Becoming a Vessel God Can Use, not to mention I have bookmarks in both Deuteronomy and Pslams, and I'm reading the Apocrypha - currently in Sirach. That's a lot to try to keep up with, and this morning when I was complaining to my mentor about all my "homework" (and now that I have it in writing, I realize it really is a lot) I felt awful. I mean there is a lot of hardwork on the part of a lot of people to get these programs up and running for the people that need them. I also learned today, that it's really about finding the importance in other people more than telling other people I habe it in me.

"Don't be selfish; don't live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing. Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross." Philippians 2:3-8 (NLT)

What a wake up call! I really need to let go of my selfish ambition, my way and my rights. None of them matter when we look at all of the selfish ambition tossed aside by Christ on the cross. So all of those activities I participate in are more about mission than they are about ego. It's not about me and what I get out of them, it's about those around me and how can I love on them.

I found this prayer today from a 17th Century Nun, and I hope to pray it every day of my life (with meaning and truth):

17th Century Nun's Prayer

Lord, thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older
And someday will be old.
Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something
On every subject on every occasion. R
elease me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs.
Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not bossy.
With my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all,
But thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.
Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details;
Give me wings to get to the point!
Seal my lips of my aches and pains - they are increasing
And the love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by.
Keep me reasonably sweet; but know that I do not want to be a saint just yet -
Some of them are so hard to live with.
Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places,
And talents in unexpected people.
And give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Down with Fast Food Christianity!

Yesterday, I started to write this great blog…and then the site crashed. Aggh. So I’ve learned my lesson. From now on all posts will be written and saved to Word, then transferred to the weblog. Not that any of you are concerned, just an explanation for my frustrations with all of this.

So as I was saying yesterday:

A friend of mine inadvertently misquoted Joyce Meyers the other day. She said, “Do not make a 20 day wander out of a 40 day journey.” Ms Meyers said it in reverse, but something about this sentence really connected with me. How often in these crazy times do we try to brush off working through things with God? We have become such consumers of the “fast food” mentality. I want things now. I want my burger now. I want my family now. I want my frustrations solved now. Yet, if don’t take time to really process these trials with God, I’m afraid we’re never really going to learn anything. Take Hebrews 6:1 for example: “Therefore let us go on toward perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation…” God wants a deeper relationship with us. Why do we want a Fast Food God?

When we make a 20-day wander out a 40-day journey, we end up playing a game of spiritual dodge ball. Whoop God ya missed me. Dang, that one hurt, but that’s okay I’ll get back in the game eventually. Life with God is so much better when we really invest in the times that he teaches us something. Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about taking my time with God. In the midst of a difficult education God has shown a lot of mercy and care with my heart and my soul. In fact, in spite of the pain, I’m finding that I would rather feel pain than the “blahs.” Oh the dreaded “blahs” of spirituality. We’ve all been there, walking through life in a daze, numbed by TV or Video games or any number of things, and one day we wake up and cry out to God we just want to feel something, anything!

So next time you tell someone that you aren’t doing so well, and they brush you off with don’t worry things will get better, I give you permission to slug them. Okay, maybe not slug them, but ignore them. We don’t need fast food solutions to our spiritual minds. We need a God who will walk tenderly with us in all situations, even if it’s a 40-day journey.

“And we want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Hebrews 6:11-12

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

We Adore Thee

"These verses are simple expressions of common Christian feelings and desires in this present time, hymns of today that may be sung together by people who know the thought of the age, and are not afraid that any truth of science will destroy their religion or that any revolution on earth will overthrow the kingdom of heaven. Therefore these are hymns of trust and hope."

These words are from Henry van Dyke the lyricist about the famous hymn "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee." He wrote the words and set them to "Hymn of Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. I can't think of a song more eloquent in stating the joy and glory we experience walking in the light of God.

1. Joyful, joyful, we adore thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
hearts unfold like flowers before thee,
opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness,
fill us with the light of day!

2. All thy works with joy surround thee,
earth and heaven reflect thy rays,
stars and angels sing around thee,
center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
flowery meadow, flashing sea,
chanting bird and flowing fountain,
call us to rejoice in thee.

3. Thou art giving and forgiving,
ever blessing, ever blest,
well-spring of the joy of living,
ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our brother,
all who live in love are thine;
teach us how to love each other,
lift us to the joy divine.

4. Mortals, join the mighty chorus
which the morning stars began;
love divine is reigning o'er us,
binding all within its span.
Ever singing, march we onward,
victors in the midst of strife;
joyful music leads us sunward,
in the triumph song of life.

I'll admit that sometimes it is difficult to find the "joy" in the midst of the difficult, but maybe that's because we define joy improperly. Joy really has nothing to do with happiness. Joy is a state of being where as happiness is a fleeting feeling. You can have both joy and happiness, and you can have neither. Yet, you can't have happiness without joy. As we walk in the Way we need to learn to be joyous. As Paul said in Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!" Rejoice is an interesting choice. I mean James writes, "Consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds." But Paul says rejoice, as in, being ecstatic with joy.

I guess that heats things up a bit.

Monday, April 04, 2005

American Idols

"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Deuteronomy 5:8-10

I’ve been studying the book of Deuteronomy lately (out of some crazy desire to read the Pentateuch backwards), and I’m amazed at how much Moses dedicates to the discussion of idols. Like a lawyer laying out his case Moses uses every line of reasoning to denote the practice of idolatry. And he has cause to be concerned. Moses spends an amazing time with God on Mount Sinai receives the 10 Commandments (which includes the above scripture) and upon his return he finds the Israelites worshipping a Golden Calf which they themselves have made. Not a great track record.

Yet, I find it hard to condemn the Israelites because I, like them, have created idols. Now I have never built an idol in the physical realm, but I have constructed quite a few in the spiritual realm. When I look at the Deuteronomy passage I notice that God says don’t “make yourself an idol in the form of anything.” Lately, I’ve been amazed at all of the lies the enemy uses to build up a museum of idols in my life. My idols could include, but are not limited to, fame, beauty, knowledge, wealth, etc. I think about all the lies I believe about success and the “American Dream” and realize that it creates fantasies in my heart that are not Christ-centered. That is an idol.

“Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit him nothing?” Isaiah 44:10

Of course there are plenty of references to idols and idolatry in the Bible, but I thought this verse in Isaiah 44 makes a good point. What profit comes from an idol? Nothing…there is a zero return on all idol investments. You do not pass go, you do not collect 200 dollars. You just continue to live the lie, unaware of how much time and heart you are losing that could be God’s.

The Bible makes it pretty clear what sinful nature includes:

“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." Galatians 5:19-21

This is a tough verse, but God never ends with the tough stuff. He always gives us the good to help:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:22-24