Sunday, August 28, 2005
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
I was reading from a Brothers blog today, something I hadn’t read before, (most encouraging) but also something I had previously read. I wanted to make it available here for any that visit me, which may not visit his blog.
A Wild Ride http://weblogs.oxegen.us/lifestream/archive/2005/08/17/9841.aspx
Also a previous article entitled, "Feasting on the Tree of Life"
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Following is a letter my wife wrote to a friend two years ago after a widespread blackout caused mayhem in southern Ontario and northern-eastern United States. Since August 14th is the anniversary of the blackout, I thought it was worth printing - if only to remind us of how dependent we are on things we take for granted - like electricity!
You may have heard it all started in Cleveland. This is incorrect.
It started with a loaf of bread and a computer programme.
The truth is, my husband Richard caused the blackout. He was trying to install a new programme on our computer at 4:14 PM. The instant he pressed ‘Enter’, the computer made a terrible grinding sound, flashed very bright, then went black. After that, 50 million people were in the dark.
And now for the rest of the story:
We were out of bread, so at about 4 PM I left home to go to the supermarket. You know the slide-y kind of doors that open automatically? Well, they would not open! I stamped my feet, jumped and waved to get the sensor's attention, but to no avail. A customer had to pry the doors open to let me in.
About two dozen people were standing with their carts in the eerily dark front entrance of the supermarket, but the manager would not let us proceed. Customers, their carts loaded with groceries, were emerging from the black bowels of the store like zombies from “The Night of the Living Dead”. But – they had bread. Dark thoughts wormed through my carbohydrate-crazed mind. "HAND OVER YOUR BREAD, AND NOBODY GETS HURT!!!" I concocted a scheme to grab a loaf and make a run for it. However, I restrained myself with my Superior Restraining Ability (plus, the manager was way bigger than I am).
While waiting for the lights to go back on, I spotted a friend and we had a nice chat. The manager told us the power was out all the way to Kitchener, 45 minutes away. A fellow customer figured somebody must have hit a hydro pole. I called Richard on my cell phone to tell him I would be late. Richard told me my brother had just called and informed him the power was out all the way to Windsor, 3 hours the other way! I mused, that had to be some telephone pole! Using great wisdom and foresight (to avoid triggering a riot right there in the supermarket entrance), I whispered my news to the manager. I felt very important. His eyes widened. He then suggested we all go home, because it looked as if the situation was going to take a while to resolve.
I made two new friends in the parking lot. We each informed the other of whatever information we had, chatted a bit, then went our way. I'll likely never see them again.
I got in my van and turned on the radio. The announcer said the station was in 'emergency mode' and was relying on battery power. I started to get concerned. Nobody knew what the heck was going on! Was North American under some kind of terrorist attack? There was a rumour there had been an explosion at a Con Ed plant in New York. Land lines were no longer working. Within minutes of calling Richard on my cell phone, I tried again, but even it wouldn't work. The only contact we had with the outside world was by car or battery operated radios.
I decided to go to a convenience store to buy bread, but found our local variety had already closed down (I did, however, peer into the darkened store and spied the clerk crouched down behind the counter). I travelled four blocks to the next one. It was open, but the tiny parking lot was crammed with cars. I went in, and found a line of people snaked all the way to the back of the dark, sweltering store. People were buying whatever they could, especially batteries and ice. To my dismay, I found the store was already out of bread…groan… but in true Canadian style, everybody was being so nice, joking and using very good manners. I was impressed with my fellow countrymen. Since I had to wait in line anyway, I also bought batteries and ice, two very hot commodities.
I travelled across town to three other stores. All were closed.
Bank machines were inoperable, all planes were grounded at every airport, nobody could get gas at the service stations, it was an extremely hot and humid day and there was no electric fan or air conditioning to be found, anywhere! Fridges, freezers stopped dead. The most dangerous thing was that there wasn't a working traffic light in all of southwestern Ontario, and the Blackout occurred at the beginning of the rush hour. The radio announcer was advising everyone to consider every intersection a 4-way stop. Citizens jumped out of their cars and began directing traffic. Dairy Queen gave away their melting ice cream cakes. Officials were advising people not to drink tap water. This was getting very serious and more than a bit scary.
There was nothing to do! Couldn't watch TV or get on the computer. The local swimming pool shut down because the pump wasn't working. When I got home, I ate some cheese and crackers washed down with lukewarm milk for supper and listened to the radio. Then I went outside to read "East of Eden" until the sun went down.
It was really remarkable how people were helping each other out. Because bank machines didn't work, thousands of people were caught not having enough change to buy anything to drink, so strangers were just giving them money. Grocery stores gave away cases of bottled water. I noticed a whole lot of people outside walking their dogs or just chatting with neighbours. Kids were playing ball, riding bikes or running around - many more than usual. I walked down to the park to see the stars. It was pretty cool without the urban glow - the stars were magnificent. We lit some candles and navigated with flashlights.
We were really lucky, because our power came back on at 9:30 PM Thursday. However, in London, an hour away, power was not restored until Saturday. Our Ontario premier declared a state of emergency. He told anybody who was not an essential worker to stay home Friday to cut down on the amount of energy being used by factories and office buildings. Toronto, Canada's largest city, was absolutely and totally shut down. Subways didn't work, people were stuck in high-rise elevators, and streetcars were inoperable. Nobody could get home, yet everybody was very nice about it - patient and good-humoured. Most spent the night sleeping on the sidewalks or in city parks (Toronto has many beautiful parks).
So, as soon as the lights came on in most Ontario cities, guess where people headed in droves? Can ya guess?
Tim Hortons! People were waiting more than half an hour in line just to get a cup of coffee, and the line to go for the drive-through was several city blocks long!
Many things I learned from the Blackout. We, like most people, were totally unprepared. I will buy many emergency candles and ensure we have plenty of matches. I will replace my flashlight batteries twice a year. I will always have the fuel tank in the van full. I will have a sufficient supply of soup, water and dry packaged goods. I will fill my freezer with bread. I will buy stock in Tim Hortons.
And Richard is forbidden from installing any more computer programmes.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Following is a letter my wife wrote to a friend. For those of you unfamiliar with the movie "Bruce Almighty", the character of God, as played by Morgan Freeman, had endued the character, Bruce (Jim Carrey) with his powers to answer prayer. Bruce had been complaining that God (at the very least) was cruel, ignorant or indifferent, but God showed him differently:
Richard and I were talking this morning about the movie "Bruce Almighty". One line in particular spoke to us, so I looked it up on the Internet. Prior to Morgan Freeman (God) saying the line, God had allowed Bruce to give people 'yes' answers to their prayers (letting people win the lottery, etc.). However, Bruce found out that just by giving people what THEY thought was best for them, it ended up tragically in case after case.
Bruce was about to discover God doesn't answer our prayers the way we want. He has a purpose in allowing things to happen the way they do:
God: Triumph is born out of struggle. Faith is the alchemist. If you want to paint pictures like this, you have to use some dark colours.
I LOVE that line! I looked up the word 'alchemy' and here's the definition:
2 : a power or process of transforming something common into something special
Isn't that cool?
So then - we ended up watching the DVD just for scenes that had been cut from the movie. One scene depicted a chubby young boy in PE class being ridiculed by the 'jocks' as he attempted to climb the ropes. One of the kids said something like, "Oh, yeah. This oughta be good - Filbert's gonna try to climb the rope! Maybe if there was a hot dog on top he could do it!" and they all laughed. Filbert prayed, "God help me!" and Bruce (acting as God) answered his prayer by giving Filbert incredible strength. He all of a sudden found himself with the ability to race up the rope like lightning, much to the admiration of his peers. The boy whispered, "Thank you, God!"
But...when God showed Bruce the ramifications of his intervention in Filbert's life, Bruce was amazed at how Filbert's personality had changed. In one scene, Filbert is beating up another kid in the school yard, while the same 'jocks' who had previously ridiculed him cheered him on. Bruce said, "Why, that's Filbert! What's gotten into him?" This is how God replied:
God: Oh, yes... Filbert. Brilliant young man. He was going to be a great poet. The soul of his work would have been built around his childhood pain. Now he's headed for a career as a professional wrestler. He'll eventually test positive for steroid use and end up managing a muffin shop.
Bruce: That's a disappointment.
God: He got what he prayed for.
God: Since when do people have a clue what they want?
So, this is what came to me:
As Richard said, Bruce had been endued with power, but did not have God's wisdom.
So, all the above made me think of our children in particular. Who's to say that the struggles they're experiencing right now is not EXACTLY what God will use in their future to birth a revelation of who He is? And even though we are appalled at what SEEMS to be, and we question God's methods and if He even cares about our kids...our Heaven Father is saying, "Well? What do you thnk? I'm the one painting this picture. Will you allow me to paint it as I see fit? Will you trust me that I know what colours to use? No matter how bad it looks, no matter how seemingly awful it may get from your human perspective, will you believe Me that I am in total control?"
"Triumph is born out of struggle. Faith is the alchemist".
Yahoo! We get to struggle!!! But we also get to triumph!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, August 06, 2005
'Christ-ones': nameless, faceless...
The following was written by a believer named Tripp at http://muchmoreofjesus.blogspot.com/
Since the Church was birthed on Pentecost, many have only embraced a historical Jesus versus The Indwelling presence of the "Anointed One." In-"Christ" (Christos-Anointed One)Interestingly enough, The Disciples were first called "Christians" in Antioch....Why?It is well known that Saul, who was later to be called Paul, spent thirteen years in Tarsus developing his trade as a tentmaker. Moreover, as Saul was growing in a practical sense, he also was being given/ministered to, by the Holy Spirit a far deeper revelation, which would ultimately change the world.You may ask, well, what was this great "revelation"? Listen to Paul's own words inspired by God in His Epistle to the Church of Ephesus.
“For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles-- if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace which was given to me for you; that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.” (Eph. 3:1-12) nasb
Again, what is this mystery?
“I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in me/you, the hope of glory.”(Col.1:25-27)nasb
Now, Saul/Paul, after thirteen years was hunted by Barnabas and brought from Tarsus to Antioch. And it was here, that a large number of people assembled over the course of a year, and Paul ministered this new-found mystery, which had now been revealed, which is Christ In Me, the hope of Glory...and in Antioch the Disciples were first called "Christians" (Christ- In- Ones).
(It is my prayer, that all will begin to embrace, the Reality of "Christ-In" me, versus the Historical Jesus of the past, and the word "Christian" will be known, as it was known in Antioch... Amen)
The following is from Connie, another believer:
Thanks for a wonderful message of truth.
This very concept seemed to seep through my noggin the other day after I'd visited a "christian" website. I used those quote marks around the word so as to make a point. They were promoting services and workshops and such for people to get involved with. Like arty things,,,,dance, theater, etc. Anyway this idea just occured to me: They promoted "christian" art and "christian" theater and I knew that there really was just art and theater, but performed by christians. The art exists without a "christian" adjective, you know. Like you pointed out, the word is used as an adjective, when in reality it is a noun. A Christian is a person who can do anything: art, business, family, learning, etc. and those things don't have to be "christian" to be acceptable. The things done are acceptable if the Person doing them deems them so. It might seem nitpicking, but to me, it seems a matter of true vs. false.
Your teaching helped to confirm that to me, thanks.
Wouldn't it be so nice and cool and peaceful if christians would just do their thing without telling anyone it was a christian thing they were doing. Let the life speak for itself. Let the light shine for itself. Maybe a whole lot more people would pay attention to christians if they (christians) weren't so enamored with their own selves and the things they were doing.
Rich speaking: this is what I gleaned from what Tripp wrote:
Since coming to know Jesus as my life, I found it exceedingly interesting to learn that believers were first called Christians at Antioch. Why? It’s because Antioch was FAR AWAY from JERUSALEM! Jerusalem was the ‘happenin’ city. All the religious big shots hung out there. You would expect that something as dramatic and explosive, in terms of God revealing the mystery He had kept hidden through the ages (that being ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’) would have been proclaimed with much fanfare in Jerusalem. But, no – God had a different idea. The ‘Christ-ones’ became known as such in Antioch…little-known, far-away Antioch. The religious leaders, the ones who had been entrusted with conveying God’s truths to the masses, weren’t privy to God’s astounding revelation! This isn’t the only time this happened. He was Lord at His birth, but no one knew this except the God the Father. Jesus said, ‘no one knows the Father, except the Son makes this known, and no one knows the Son, except that Father makes it known’.
Re: Connie’s reply to Tripp: as she wrote, the term ‘Christian’ is a noun, not an adjective. Christ is neither a prefix nor a suffix! It is either Life we are seeking, or it is religious superstition or religious trappings. I, too, cringe when I hear the word ‘Christian’ being placed in front of words such as festival, business, radio, music, novel, art, etc. I particularly wince at the term ‘Christian Ministry’. Now, the person at the helm of it may think s/he has a ministry, but it’s not necessarily of God. What’s more difficult - for the Lord to work through General Motors or the institutional church? Can He work through IBM as well as through a 2000 member congregation? Yes! There is no sacred or secular as far as God is concerned.
Most Christians seem to relate more to applying Christ as a label, a tag-on to their lives instead of as their VERY life. As a good friend put it, he used to plan aspects of his daily life something like this: “Well, the person who runs this business is a Christian therefore it's best to go to him, or this lady on the radio is a Christian psychologist... got to listen to her”. Nonsense!
From what is becoming most clear to me (in light of Connie's words) being a Christ-one means something far different from what we have traditionally believed. Jesus’ desire is that we not be seen at all, as far as what most would understand a Christian to be. We are to be nameless and faceless. We have nothing about which to boast or flaunt - our race, gender, ‘stock’, ancestry, etc. died at the cross. We are becoming more and more unobtrusive, to be of no reputation, living supernaturally in the natural world. The more we need to be ‘seen’, the less He is seen. We will eventually not be seen at all, meaning, what people will see is Christ, not us. And as Christ is being fleshed out in whomever, it is going to cause great consternation; even amongst those we would call brothers. There will be no room for the independent self. The independent self knows nothing of grace, nor does s/he want it. God will severely deal with this.
When we prefix the name of Christ to anything, it becomes a mockery (I would even go so far as to say it is anti-Christ). He is NOT in buildings, programs clubs or anything of the kind. He dwells in folks He has sired. These people may have never been part of the institutional church, but they know to Whom they belong. Anyone who has partaken of His grace is among the re-birthed, and the Father knows the ones who are His. Jesus said, “No one knows the Father, except the Son makes this known, and no one knows the Son, except that the Father makes it known”.
According to biblical accounts, a man named Phillip was sent to speak to a high-ranking eunuch about Jesus. The eunuch asked, “Is this about one that is to come, or one that has already come?” Phillip began to preach Christ to him. Phillip wouldn't have even been there except the Lord dialed him into what was happening! And that is why God says we are in this world, but not of it. His life in us has free access to reach out and touch those with whom we come in contact daily. The focus is not upon what we do, but knowing He is there in me in spite of whatever is going down around me. IT'S NOT ABOUT "OUR" MINISTRY! It’s purely about His ministry operating in us.
It amazes me every time I think about how that for most of Jesus' earthly life, no one knew He was God in the flesh, and I see that being equally true of the Living Word being fleshed out in us.
Are we willing to forego the limelight? Are we willing to be made of no reputation? Are we willing to have no identity? Are we willing to be, as it were, planted in the ground, unseen, unheard, so that His life can be formed in us? THAT is what it means to be a Christ-one.
Monday, August 01, 2005
As we are partaking of His increase there is at the same time a separation taking place between our soul and its ties with our flesh, and that my friend is where this hellish battle is warring intensely.
His increase spells a most painful but needed decreasing.
Simply because we have been re-birthed (born-again) this has not in itself freed us yet from the many entanglements our soul has in its ties to our flesh.
If you continue in this relationship I have called you into, you will know the Truth, and the Truth will (continually) set you free.