Tuesday, November 1, 2011

living life...

the following is from my good friend, Chris Kimmell - enjoy...

I spent this afternoon wandering a bookstore. It wasn’t a small bookstore; it was one of those monster bookstore malls with multiple levels, and a media department. It is easy to spend several hours walking such a place. Going from one section to the other; spying a title that catches my eye, and reading the jackets. While wandering, I often watch people and try to imagine what is on their mind.

I stopped in the “pets” section as I am lover of those furry domesticated animals that many people decide to cohabitate with. I happened to be standing in front of the dog books when an elderly gentleman walked up and stood beside me. He appeared to be in his mid to late seventies, with a slight pudgy build. He grabbed a book on dog breeds so I asked him what kind of dog he had or did he want to get one. The man turned toward me and I watched the smile envelope his face as the joy filled up inside him. He began to explain to me how he had three dogs and one had just showed up several months ago. He wasn’t sure what type of dog it was but he was proud of his dogs. He told me stories of his dogs and how he was slowly taming the apparently feral dog that had showed up on his three acres of woods. The smile never left his face while he talked to me. I say as he talked to me because I never said another thing for quite some time until he asked me about my dogs. I responded that I had a bloodhound and he was off again speaking of his encounter with a bloodhound many years before. I was experiencing great joy watching this man’s joy grow. He had someone to talk to who was listening to him. He had been lonely and for nearly an hour he had someone who was listening to him that cared.

We parted ways and I ventured into the “children’s” section and looked at picture books. I noticed another elderly person, this time a woman. She was sitting at a small children’s table with her knees tucked up under her chin. A little girl ran up to her and gave the woman a book. The woman opened the book and read a few pages to the girl and then the girl took the book and ran away just as quickly as she came. I loved the sharing of smiles and laughter they shared with each other. I went on browsing when I heard more footsteps running to the woman. This time a boy and he handed her a book and again the same exchange of reading and laughter ensued. The boy left and a few minutes later a third, and then a fourth child all greeted her with a book, a few pages read, and then giggles and laughter. I asked the woman “Are those your grandchildren?” “Oh, goodness no.” she replied. “My two grandkids are over there in the “teen” section.”

What amazing ministry I experienced in just living life. I did not need to inform these people of Jesus. They already knew Him. I could see that in their eyes and in the love they expressed. Jesus used me to show the man that someone really did care about him. That someone was actually willing to carve out a portion of their day, just for him to tell whatever dog story he cared to tell. Jesus showed him that even a total stranger is not always a “total stranger”.

Jesus then ministered to me through another. Jesus let me see that He was there in the woman who would share love and laughter with kids she never knew. Jesus allowed me to share in their joy as they shared with each other.

Often sharing Jesus means His name doesn’t even have to be uttered. We sometimes forget that we can share Jesus in a smile or just word to the cashier that is trying to recognize every customer as they enter and leave. Every time, sharing Jesus is in just living life.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

with us...

just want to share where my heart is this morning...

He is not afraid of our darkness - He does not ever stand across the street and yell at us to turn on the light, take a bath and clean up and then He will come visit us

He has willingly crossed the street. He has willingly joined us in our darkest places - in our deepest hurts - in the midst of our rejections - right there - right here - with us - in us

right there - right here - He is Himself - light, life, love, grace, peace - with us - in us

David wrote - and maybe sang - about Father restoring his soul. that's what He does. He restores. He gathers together all our parts and makes us whole

that is what He does

that is Who He is

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


greater is He Who is in you...

greater... than the storms hurled at you

greater... than the fear that grips you in the gut

greater... than the loss of relationships

greater... than your painful childhood

greater... than the mountains blocking your way

greater... than the little irritations of the day

greater... than the person who tears you down

greater... than the darkness

greater... than the wilderness

greater... than confusion

greater... than the silence

greater... than the prison


... is He

... Who is in you

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

just a small thing...

quite insignificant in size… lacking any beauty. nonetheless, it was fighting with all its might to be free.

as i was getting my coffee this morning, my eye was drawn by a fluttering in among the wood pile just a few feet from my window. the movement would stop for a second or two and begin again. i was pretty sure it was a moth ensnared in a spider web - but it could have been a bit of leaf.

if it was a moth - it was of no import. but i felt a twinge.

did some other things. back to the window. still fluttering. still fighting. must be a moth. more twinge.

yet other things needed my attention. i argued against the twinge - ‘it’s just a moth - not even a pretty one - not like a butterfly or dragonfly. just… a… moth.’

finally went back to the window to see if it was still there - sure enough it was - still fighting.

no more arguing with the twinge. went outside. got a twig and broke the web from the wood. got the moth - also got the spider. moth was trying to get free - spider was trying to wrap it more in it’s web - I was determined to set the moth free.

guess who won that battle? got the spider separated from the moth - then was able to get the little creature out of the web.

it sat on my fingers for a moment - then flew away.

it was created to fly - it was being hindered unto death.

i think that’s why the not-letting-go twinge. in the scheme of things, i’m just a small thing… lacking any real beauty… insignificant as the world judges.

but… He is teaching me to fly - and i must do so - no matter the struggle.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


choose... decide... make up your mind... resolve and settle it once and for all
we have been given a wonderful tool - a 'decider'. we can use it for all sorts of situations and circumstances in our lives.

will we have another piece of chocolate... will we sell our belongings and go to the other side of the world to help AIDs orphans. and all sorts of inbetweens.

the other day, after reading a comment from a friend, i got to thinking about a passage in the Old Testament - actually, two passages - and only a snippet from each. they both speak of choice. they speak of life... and who we will serve.

then, a third passage followed hard on the heels of the first two - this one in the New Testament. about not living as others have dictated.

"... I have set before you life and death... choose life that you may live" - there is a quality of living we are given the opportunity to choose.

"... choose who you will serve..." - there is servitude involved in our choice.

"... do not be conformed..." - that tells me i can make a choice as to whether i will shape myself to someone else's demands.

we can choose - i choose life. we can choose to not be in servitude to that which binds, and stifles, and controls - i choose life. we can choose not to be conformed to their patterns - i choose life.

we can choose, decide, make up our minds to be bent and pushed and shaped into someone's mold. if we do, in my seeing and experience, we have chosen death. we have chosen to serve that person/thing/institution, etc, in the fashion of their choosing. and that results in death to whom we are meant to be.

even if we have chosen that which brings death and servitude and conforming - we can choose again - for life. and in the very choosing, we will begin to be set free - transformed - renewed. in our minds - in our walks - in our lives.

and we will find that good, acceptable, perfect desire for us. we will find and know His desire for us - we will find, and walk in - that person He desires us to be.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

here... now...

“ Sometimes the urgency of our hunger blinds us to the fact that we are already at the feast. To accept this can change everything: we are always home, never exiled. Although our minds constantly insist on seeing walls of separation, in reality most of the walls are mere veils. In every moment, everywhere, we are not even inches away from the divine presence.”

John O'Donohue

Saturday, April 23, 2011

only a pittance

he was just a tiny thing. lying very still. blank eyes.

'... not worth much more than a penny at most... '

it was raining... cold... miserable out. i watched it for a bit from the window. he had flown into the window from the birdfeeder and had landed on the ground.

it was just a sparrow. there are millions of them. not too smart sometimes.

'... and yet, not one falls to the ground without your Father... '

my heart would not let me just leave it there, so i went out in the rain, gently scooped him up and cupped him in my hands and ducked into the open garage.

do you ever just 'know'... sometimes... that you are being made particularly aware of Father's heart? that His heart really does take notice of... and that, in some incredible way, He is even 'with'... something so insignificant as a little sparrow.

i held the little thing in my warm hands and thanked Father that He knew the little one had fallen... that He was with the little one.

i prayed and stroked the softer-than-soft feathers for a minute or two. then he moved, blinked, moved again - then flew out of my hand and off to a tree.

'... are you not worth more than many tiny birds... and yet Father knows... and is with you... '

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Jesus said... 'My father goes on working, and so do I'. (John 5)

"The relationship between Jesus and the Father is so intimate it is like breathing. God offers this same intimacy to you and me, breathing love into us, and with this breath inspiring us to breathe love into others. 'It is good for you that I'm going,' Jesus said, 'because if I go, I can send you my Spirit, my breath'."

~ Henri Nouwen

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

a time...

there comes a time, in one's life...


when the light begins to break through...

when reality begins to dawn...

that He resides with you...

that He dwells within you.

there is no need to 'ask' Him to draw nigh...

He is nigh.

He can get no closer.

no closer than your breath...

no closer than your heartbeat.

He is with you.

He is in you.

it is in you... that He lives, and breathes, and has His being.

it is in Him... that you live, and breathe, and have your being.

there comes a time, in one's life...


when one knows...

that He sees...

that He knows...

that He is here.

right here.

in the very midst.


without fail.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


... a hateful sounding word, isn't it?

it's being thrown around a lot these days.

here's what the dictionary has to say about it:

1. a professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church.

2. Roman Catholic Church - a baptized Roman Catholic who willfully and persistently rejects any article of faith.

3. anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine, or principle.

etymologically speaking, it means to be able to choose.

Galileo was condemned as a heretic for supporting Copernicus’s thesis that the earth revolves around the sun and not vice-versa.

do you believe the earth revolves around the sun? if so, you would have been in the same boat in which Galileo found himself.

Paul was described to the Roman governor Felix as the leader of the heresy (aireseos) of the Nazarenes (Acts 24:5). what about you?

all of Protestantism was declared heretical by the Roman Church. possibly still is, behind closed doors.

believing and practicing the priesthood of all believers was declared heretical. anyone who 'preached' or 'taught' who was not a part of the hierarchy was a heretic.

John Wycliffe - because his translation didn’t suit the hierarchy; William Tyndale - tried for heresy, strangled and burnt at the stake in 1536; Jan Hus, Joan of Arc, Thomas Cranmer and many folk under the rule of Bloody Mary.

Billy Graham, Beth Moore, Moody Bible Institute, Max Lucado, Michael W Smith, Baylor University, Chuck Swindoll, NavPress, Intervarsity, Christianity Today, Mother Teresa, Bono, Quakers, Charles Stanley, Chuck Colson, C S Lewis, Franklin Graham, J I Packer, James Dobson, Joel Osteen, John Piper, Martin Luther King, Jr.

just a few who have had the appellation thrown their way.

oh, and anyone who uses any other Bible but the KJV.

there are lots of other words being thrown around - universalism, trinitarianism, ultimate reconciliation, hell, heaven, slippery slope - to name a few.

but - what i am hearing more than the words is that which is behind some of the words. it’s not pretty.

it sounds a lot like hate.

i don't know about any of you, but this really grieves my heart. aren't we - those of us who name His name in some form or other - supposed to find love in our hearts for others who also name His name?

why can’t we trust Him? - trust in His character?

if we trust Him with ourselves, can’t we trust Him with others?

do we trust Him with ourselves - to keep us from harm and deception?

can we not do the same for others?

confession - i don’t know everything there is to know about God. surprise! i have no clue ‘how’ He has and will work all things together for His purpose. i do know, to some degree, what the Bible has to say about salvation and reconciliation. i am aware that a strong case can be made for ultimate reconciliation - a strong case can be made against ultimate reconciliation.

why don’t we slow down, take a breath and a step or two back, consider Him and choose the better way.

why don’t we leave the out-working up to Him?

He can be trusted.

off the map...

[originally posted March 9, 2011]

The way of trust is a movement into obscurity, into the undefined, not into some predetermined, clear plan. The next step discloses itself out of a discernment of God acting in the desert of the present moment. Naked trust is the life of one who leaves what is nailed down  and secure by walking into the unknown without any rational explanation to justify the decision or guarantee the future.

~ Brennan Manning

the presence of grace...

[originally posted March 9, 2011]

It's true. We really do only pass this way but once. My hope is that we all come to understand that the passing through is packed full of moments that are full of the kind of happenings that can mysteriously awaken us. And it's the presence of grace and our yielding to that grace that breaks up the hard packed ground and allows the life inside to break through and grow.

~ Kent Burgess

He is...

[originally posted February 22, 2011]

Christianity is not a formula, but the Person of Jesus Himself. Never think that Christianity is a matter of adjusting behavior, but rather, of letting Christ live through us in His strength and power.

~ Malcom Smith

the narrow way...

[originally published February 10, 2011]

eavesdropping on some hearts this morning...

"It is a shock to many who would settle for a life of serving God that, above all else, He fervently desires our friendship. He desires us infinitely more than we desire Him."

~ Malcolm Smith

And that is the most beautiful... and yet hardest thing to find and accept... it's the narrow way... that fits your feet walking with him... apart from all you "think" you know... it's an experience... the wide way is me walking with all those things I "think" I know... as opposed to walking with the one making HIMSELF known... He loves me...

~ Stephanie McEntire

When I read things like this it makes me uncomfortable because I've been trained to see God above all things as Sovereign and Holy, and there is no question that He is those things. Jesus however, most often characterized God as Love and emphasized this in many of his parables and teachings. There's all sorts of things that scream in my mind to minimize that love God has for me as somehow not dignified enough for such a powerful God. It's true however. God is madly, passionately and desperately in love with us, ultimately because of who He is.

His love is driving, personal, extravagant and even wasteful in the eyes of some. It's when I see this God and accept Him and His love for me that I learn to walk without guilt, shame or fear and trust in that love as the greatest foundation of all, undergirding all of my life. 

It's when I set aside all the "buts" and accept that God is indeed this loving that i am free to live and love as He created me to.

~ Bart Breen

quiet places... full of sound

[originally posted January 27, 2011]

standing by a tomb of a knight. Sir Richard Pembridge… a Knight of the Garter who fought at Crecy and Poitiers. he died 1375.

as far as i can tell, there are no other living beings in the Cathedral. it’s late morning, the light is gentle… unobtrusive.

i am aware of all the prayers which have been uttered in this place… the sense of them more than the sound.

yet there is the sound of them...

as unobtrusive as the light… but just as present.

the vaulted stone ceiling which soars far above seems filled with the presence of the prayers. the aisles and chapels and niches... full of their presence... the heart petitions of the people who have gone before.

centuries upon centuries of sound… in the quiet.

photo courtesy of Britain Express

Saturday, January 22, 2011

primordial grief...

... read something yesterday which struck a deep note for me.

have you ever wondered what Eve felt in the garden after she ate and gave Adam to eat? have you ever wondered what she felt when God came looking for them and found them hiding?

have you ever wondered…

… how she felt when she/they knew they were naked? [and by the way, who told them they were naked?]

… what she felt when the reality of what had happened... what they had done?... what.. she.. had done?... began to break through to her?

… what she felt when the loss of Eden came crashing in on her?

forget the loaded-ness of the Genesis story... think for a moment what it would feel like knowing that in a time of weakness - because of a very crooked place within… a place where healing and restoration was yet to be worked - a decision was made which put your loved ones in a place of difficulty for the rest of their lives.

have you ever made such a decision? i have.

as i read about that grief immeasurable and bleak… Eve’s grief in the Garden and after… when the full weight of what she had done bore in on her, i felt that grief… i knew that grief, even if only in part… I shared that grief and my heart broke for her.

He is bringing me through it - i trust He brought her through it, too.

even though i walk through a valley deep and dark… He is with me.

Friday, January 21, 2011

can we be friends?

ever been presented the opportunity to connect with a person completely - in every way, except being alive - different?

what do we do with that opportunity?

ignore it?

approach with fear?

demand the other change?

attempt to change ourselves in order to be attractive to the other?

get approval from some authority before we let 'them' into our lives?

here’s a thought - maybe we could just be who we are - with no pretense, demands or agenda - and welcome them in.

could be life-changing for both - in a very good way.

photo courtesy Sheryl Senter Hackett Matters

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

He is kind...

Last Wednesday my neighbor left a message on my phone to call her. I could tell by her voice that it wasn't just a chat she was wanting.

This is the wonderful story she shared.

About 20 years or so ago, my neighbor Susan had a friend, Marilyn, who lived in an apartment about a block and half away. Marilyn had a great, friendly dog who loved to play with Susan’s kids. She - the dog - would come up the hill for a visit every day while Marilyn was at work. Susan and kids would take care of the dog when Marilyn was away.

The dog jogged with Susan every day.

One day, while they were jogging, a car hit the dog. My neighbor held her in her arms as the precious companion died. Needless to say, she was heart-broken.

A few years later, Marilyn moved away from the village into the city. She and Susan kept in touch, but not as before.

On Wednesday, Susan was running errands in the city and, on the way home, spontaneously decided to change her route to pick up something for supper.

The street she turned onto had quite a bit of going-home traffic and there, running down the street dragging her leash behind her was a very frightened little dog. The cars were avoiding her as best they could - slowing down, swerving and honking of horns, etc.

Susan was able to pull over. She called to the dog and prayed and called and prayed. Finally, the dog ran to her, miraculously dodging between cars.

The dog let Susan scoop her up and get into her car; there was a tag on the collar - oddly from a vet here in the village.

Just as Susan was beginning to call the vet, a van pulled up behind Susan, the driver honking the horn for all she was worth.

The driver piled out of her van and ran to Susan’s car; as Susan got out of her car, of course they both knew the other - old friends - Susan and Marilyn. It was Marilyn’s dog.

Susan, who had never been able to forget the death of the first dog, was now able to save and return a beloved pet to the very same friend - and Marilyn was able to receive alive her dog - from the same friend.

The gentle kindness of Father - His redemption of sadness from so long ago.