I will be your lawyer

This is what the Lord says to Jerusalem: I will be your lawyer to plead your case, and I will avenge you. I will dry up her river, as well as her springs... (Jeremiah 51:36)

Wait, waiting, waiter

We must wait, wait, on the Lord
(repeat)
And learn our lessons well
In His timing He will tell
Us where to go, what to do, what to say

That's from an old Maranatha Music song. It sounds good and sounds Biblical. Just look in your concordance and you'll find a bunch of "wait on the Lord's". But what does it mean? Many times, I've felt that this was an apt word for me, but I had to find out what waiting means in the Biblical sense.

I found out that waiting is more than just a time line or a place you are in until that something comes. Waiting has a lot to do with what waiters and waitresses do. They wait on their customers. That's what we're supposed to do with God when we wait on Him. What? When you wait, you attend to God, you serve God. You are at God's beckon call when you wait. You check in with God often to see if He is saying anything for you to do. That's waiting. It's very active. You may sit and you may rest, but you keep up this attentiveness and exercise faith.

You are my son

There are a handful of scriptures that move me to the core. The account of God The Father speaking at Jesus baptism, recorded in the three synoptic Gospels, is one of them:

After all the people were baptized, Jesus was baptized. As he was praying, the sky opened up and the Holy Spirit, like a dove descending, came down on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: "You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life." Luke 3:21-22, (The Message)
Being a dad, I know what it feels like to love my son; and I have an idea of how The Father loves His Son. It reminds me that this is what it's all about, God's love. God loves. God is love. The love that I have for my son was created by God.

Do you think God the Father missed Jesus, when he was living on earth those years? Do you think the Father suffered when Jesus suffered?

Canter


To canter is ride a horse faster than a trot and slower than a gallup.
Cantering involves three hoof-beats, followed by a rest.
Trotting is a "one-two" beat of the hoofs and galluping involves a "one-two-three-four" motion.

The word canter comes from the English city of Canterbury.
Chaucer's famous book, Canterbury Tales, is about a group of varied people who are on a pilgrimage to Canterbury.
Wiki:
Some of the tales are serious and others comical; however, all are highly accurate in describing the traits and faults of Human nature, Religious malpractice is a major theme as well as focusing on the division of the three estates. Most of the tales are interlinked with similar themes running through them and some are told in retaliation for other tales in the form of an argument.
A pilgrimage is an arduous "road trip" that people go on to a famous religious site. Canterbury was the religious center or church capitol since around 600 and archbishop Thomas Becket was assasinated there in 1170 by knights loyal to King Henry II, after he came into conflict with the king over the freedom of the church from control by the state. Three years later, Becket was canonized by the pope. Henry came down to Becket's tomb and did public penance. Historians believe that Henry never really ordered Becket's death, but only said angry words that the overzealous Knights who's lives ended in infamy.

In summary, the word canter comes from the pilgrimage to Canterbury, the seat of religious power and a place matrydom where a man stood and died for freedom of the church from the state. Pilgrimage is a journey to a significant destination with companions who tell stories to each other and share meals and generally take care of each other along the way.

Transition and change are two different things

Have you noticed that change is constant? Some changes are much bigger than others, more significant, but change is almost constant. I think that when we talk about change though, we're more talking about significant ones that require recalibration or adjustment, or else we find ourselves in friction against a new path. The recalibration or adjustment that we have to do is transition. Change is external, transition is internal. Some people embrace change in a way of novelty and then they reject it or resist it later because they have not transitioned.


In Alan Roxburgh's book, The Sky is Falling: Leaders Lost in Transition, he has a five phase model that describes the process of change:
  1. Stability
  2. Discontinuity
  3. Disembedding
  4. Transition
  5. Reformation
Len Hjalmarson has a great review here of The Sky is falling, and these are Len's words on Roxburgh's five phases:

1. Systems seek stability. One of the ways they accomplish this is by forming traditions and standardizing roles. Change during stable phases of cultural life is marked by gradual and manageable change. The role of leadership in these phases is well understood.

2. When stable phases shade into instability, or discontinuity, patterns emerge that alter the way the world works. Leadership roles generally fail to change much, however, instead trying to respond to discontinuity with known skills, failing to question fundamental frameworks, leading inevitably to burnout as leaders try harder.

3. Discontinuity increases until the power of tradition can no longer withstand the forces of instability. Relational alliances shift; new networks grow up; power struggles and blame shifting ensue as the system breaks down. This disembedding is painful and necessary, both local and cultural. Roxburgh notes that it is in this phase that many break with the past, leading to further disorientation. Leaders in this phase often revert to old skills which cannot enable a meaningful engagement with the new context.

4. When stability, predictability and control are gone the transition phase has arrived. (Interesting that this transition is used in my wife's profession to describe the fearful sense of loss of control moments before birth). One common response is pragmatic.. to search for what is working, here or elsewhere. At a similar point Israel wanted to return to Egypt.. but there is no going back. This is a painful and potentially creative time.

5. "Reformation happens as the church has negotiated the reinventing of its life through disembedding, discontinuity, and transition and begins to approach a new period of recreating transition and finding fresh stability." (56) This requires a rediscovery and reframing of the church's original story. "A new language, a new set of roles, and a new set of rules have emerged�"

Roxburgh argues that the shift from transition to reformation is still a long way ahead. Meanwhile, we will continue to cycle back and forth in the transition phase. Leadership in this time will require "living in the midst of the tension between reentering the stories and traditions of our past and experimenting in ways that discern the emergent forms of God's activity." (58)

As in the five stages of death and dying by Dr. Kubler-Ross, these stages age not linear; we can skip around and cycle back and forth and simultaneously through various phases.

I find this model helpful in understanding the internal "discombobulation" that we feel when we go through change and internal transition is called for. I think that number three, disembedding, is a very powerful concept. People that try to move forward with change, but who have embedded ways of doing and thinking are very unhappy people. The Exodus and wilderness time, followed by the conquest are such powerful metaphors for this. As Paul said, "these things happened as examples (models)". (1. Cor. 10:6)

New House Church survey results from George Barna

George Barna just published the results of his latest survey about people who attend house churches.
The whole article is here. Some interesting results:

  • 93% have spoken prayer during their meetings
  • 90% read from the Bible
  • 89% spend time serving people outside of their group
  • 87% devote time to sharing personal needs or experiences
  • 85% spend time eating and talking before or after the meeting
  • 83% discuss the teaching provided
  • 76% have a formal teaching time
  • 70% incorporate music or singing
  • 58% have a prophecy or special word delivered
  • 52% take an offering from participants that is given to ministries
  • 51% share communion
  • 41% watch a video presentation as part of the learning experience

    Most house churches are family-oriented. Two out of every three house churches (64%) have children involved. Those churches are divided evenly between those who have the adults and children together throughout the meeting (41%) and those who keep them separated (38%). The remaining churches divide their time between having everyone together and having time when the children and adults are separated.

    The Participants

    The average size of a house church is 20 people; in the home churches that include children, there is an average of about seven children under the age of 18 involved. The rapid growth in house church activity is evident in the fact that half of the people (54%) currently engaged in an independent home fellowship have been participating for less than three months. In total, three out of every four house church participants (75%) have been active in their current gathering for a year or less. One out of every five adults has been in their house church for three years or more.
    Currently, just four out of every ten regular house church attenders (42%) rely exclusively upon a house church as their primary "church" experience.

  • Que sera, sera

    "Que sera, sera,
    Whatever will be, will be;
    The future's not ours to see.
    Que sera, sera,
    What will be, will be.
    Que Sera, Sera!"

    "Que sera, sera" , is a song from a Hitchcock film, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), and it means, "whatever will be will be". The next line describes what the songwriter means by that and it is that, "the future's not ours to see". A friend of mine was recently saying over and over, "I don't know what's going to happen". He was stating the obvious.

    We really don't know what's going to happen with many things that are out of our hands. Jesus said don't worry about tomorrow because today has enough going on already. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof". Stay in the present.

    Planning for the future is another matter. The message of this song is not to be passive about the future, but to not worry about it. You are being right now in your present. The present is now. Right now you can do things that will affect your future. You can plan ahead. But it will be in the future. I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.

    Looking over the overlooked

    I'M LOOKING OVER A FOUR-LEAF CLOVER
    Art Mooney

    Words by Mort Dixon,
    music by Harry Woods
    Written in 1927
    - popularized in 1948 by Art Mooney


    I'm looking over a four-leaf clover
    That I overlooked before
    One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain,
    Third is the roses that grow in the lane.
    No need explaining, the one remaining
    Is somebody I adore.
    I'm looking over a four-leaf clover
    That I overlooked before


    "Be thankful on all occassions, for this is the will of God."
    I think that it is so easy to overlook the blessings that we already posses, while we are looking off into the distance for something good to happen to us. I think that discontentment is a disease that we take with us wherever we go.

    Smile

    Did you know that if you smile, it will improve your mood? Somehow, smiling sends a signal back to the mood centers of your brain and makes you feel better and before you know it, you are smiling naturally.

    This is from Psychiatrist Dr. Cliff Khun, "America's Laugh Doctor":

    Always Go the Extra Smile. This Commandment is doubly helpfully for depression and anxiety because not only does it provide measurable emotional and physical relief, but it also is completely under your control - regardless of your circumstances. Because smiling remains totally under your control, it can be your greatest resource for using humor's natural medicine to accelerate your mental health.

    Smiling produces measurable physical benefits you can experience immediately: your stress decreases, your immunity improves, your pain and frustration tolerances increase, and your creativity soars. And guess what? You experience all these benefits even if your smile is "fake." That's right...forcing a smile onto your face perks up your immune system and lightens your mood just as readily as a genuine smile. Fake a smile and you'll soon feel well enough to wear a real one!

    This is great news for your proactive stance on sustainable mental health. You have an amazing amount of pre-emptive control over your mood - you can, literally, choose more energy and happiness. The key for your use of this Fun Commandment in enhancing your mental health is to start practicing right now, so that smiling becomes an entrenched, habitual method of accessing the natural medicine of humor. If you wait to smile until your mental health has taken a turn for the worse, and depression or anxiety has taken hold of you, it will not be as effective.


    In 1915, a song came out of England called, "Pick Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile". Vide Press called it a "Philosophy Song". Do you think that attitude matters in warfare? I do. Do you think David was depressed or upbeat when he faced off with Goliath?

    The Hebrews 10:25 question

    Hebrews 10:25 is often quoted to tell you, "you'd better get to a church meeting", or to invalidate outside-the-box meet-ups. Let's look at the passage in a bit more context, backing up to verse 23.

    NASB: "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near."

    The Messege: "Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching."

    So first off, people say that you have to meet (assemble) together; and when they say that, they always have in mind what a meeting is, whether it entails a certain kind of building, or someone gives a speech while you sit in uncomfortable chairs looking at the back of someone's head, OR they mean you must pray or study the Bible or sing songs togther in order for it to be a real church meeting.

    What the passage does say is that you should not give up on meeting altogether, period. That's what forsake means. Don't avoid worshiping together, the passage says. The passage says that we need to gather to encourage one another and stimulate each other towards good deeds. These are the only descriptions here of what an assembly is like or is.

    The context of the book of Hebrews is Christians under persecution. These people needed to get togther and encourage each other. The author is saying,
    "hang on to the Lord and His word and your hope in Him, He is faithful. Think of ways that you can bless each other in word and deed. Don't isolate like some silly folks do, but take risks and reach out and open up to others. We need each other."

    Big Time

    What if you suddenly had what you dream about? Things do suddenly happen. But are you ready for it? What if God gave you something even better than what you've been asking for? I think that's the way God is, full of surprises and generous beyond measure. I think that our place to be is to be ready and fresh, in that we aren't bitter or pickled by the deferment of our dreams.

    new printer

    Over the holidays, our year old Dell 924 printer stopped working properly. After much research, I decided to get this Canon PIXMA MP600 printer. I found out that you can easily run through $1000 worth of ink in the life of a printer. The least expensive printers, the ones they give you for free or heavily discounted when you purchase a new computer, are big ink hogs. Why not invest in a better printer that's more efficient and does a better job? That's what I did.

    Archipelago

    An archipelago is a chain or cluster of islands. The name means "chief sea", derived from Greek words meaning "leader"-"sea". The word originated as the name for the Aegean Sea, which is the sea between modern Greece and Turkey. That area contains a large number of scattered islands. Archipelago later was used to describe just these islands in the Aegean Sea. Today the word describes a chain or cluster of islands, like the Hawaiian ones or the West Indies.

    When I look at the map of the Aegean Sea and all these little islands, I also notice that most of the cities mentioned in the NT are also there, but on the land masses of modern Greece and Turkey.

    Isaiah is the book in the Bible that mentions islands fourteen times. Through Isaiah's perspective, it seems like islands are "out there", but also matter and are very known to God and need the word, just like the mainland does.

    There are the Rome and Jerusalem churches that everyone knows about. There are the Asia minor churches that many know about. There are also the achipelago churches, that are linked or chained together usually. Most people don't know about these "out there" churches. They all matter to God and God sees all of them together.

    Coriander

    If you cook, you've probably heard of this spice. But did you know that Cilantro is the leaf of this same plant? Did you know that manna is described as being like coriander in Exodus 16:31 and Numbers 11:7? Coriander is an essential ingredient in curry. In Iran, it is used to aid in sleep and for anxiety. In Hebrew, Coriander is tansliterated, gad. The tribe of Gad and the prophet Gad, look the same in Hebrew and are transliterated, gawd. Both of these Gad's have Hebrew roots in words that mean troops gathering and attacking. I just thought this was interesting.

    The caissons are coming


    Over hill, over dale
    As we hit the dusty trail,
    And the Caissons go rolling along.
    In and out, hear them shout,
    Counter march and right about,
    And the Caissons go rolling along.

    Edmund Louis Gruber(1879-1941) wrote these words while waiting for artillery ammunition.
    He was out of ammunition, but heard his provision coming and encouraged himself with this song. It was early in his military career at the age of 29 when he wrote these words as a first lieutenet. He would later receive three promotions, all the way up to colonel; and served as a temporary brigadier general before his death. He also was related to Franz Gruber(1787-1863), who wrote Silent Night on December 24, 1818. "The Caissons go rolling along" became the official field artillery song and then the official song for the entire army.