Just a quick word today as InterVarsity Press releases my new book, A Life of Listening. As I’ve mentioned, it’s perhaps the most personal book I’ve ever written, and so I’m deeply grateful for the kind words from friends who have previewed the book and found in it encouragement to keep their ear and heart cocked to God, listening for both His whispers and shouts. If you’re planning to purchase the book, may I ask that you consider ordering it today from Amazon? A good first day of sales will help with the algorithms, which in turn will help more people discover the book.
The summer is over
the harvest is past
and we are not saved
I wake this early August morning
thinking it is time to ready
and order our work for the coming fall
I wake this morning also to news
of bloody carnage.
a tale of two dazed cities
and one bewildered country
first the settlers killed the Indians
and the Indians killed the settlers
now the nationalists kill the browns
and before long the browns
may kill the whites
when will it end?
what difference will
our puny efforts make
to stop the horror
the bloody bullets?
the only way
is a way of peace,
to end the hateful
unnamed civil war
The summer is over.
The harvest is past
Why are we not saved?
I wrote the above, then listened on my phone to the app Pray-As-You-Go
The scripture for this morning is the story of Jesus praying in the hills while the disciples are almost swamped by a violent storm on the lake, of Jesus appearing, and Peter asking to come to him on the troubled water.
How Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the waves and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the rough and heavy winds he became frightened, and beginning to sink cried out, “Lord save me!”
Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him saying to him, “You have little faith. Why did you doubt?” And held him until he was safe and the storm ceased.
Then the other disciples worshiped him saying, “Truly, you are the son of God.”
It was truly a word for today. Reminding me that, although the “prince of the power of the air” invades troubled young minds through the internet, he has no authority over the destiny of those who follow the Prince of Peace.
This is a photo of clouds I took yesterday at midday up in Linville. It was so dramatic. I was reminded how often God spoke in the Scriptures through the clouds. It’s as if his voice comes a bit at a time until suddenly the clouds burst and it becomes clear. I have written about this in my new book , A Life of Listening, which comes out in September.
Last week I spent a day and night in a small house on the Blue Ridge Parkway, an annual overnight retreat for some younger friends, all in ministry.
Turns out all of them are dealing with father issues – one whose father recently died, another whose dad has had a series of strokes, the father of the third recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s
We have shared joys in ministry and family together; this time we shared losses. And the following words I read reaffirmed the need for spiritual friendships.
When life is hard, what I most need is not always what I want. What I want is for life to be easy. What I want is for someone or something to come along and make it all go away. But I need tenderness. What I need is to be loved. What I need is a companion for the journey. – Br. James Koester, Society of Saint John the Evangelist
This morning, I listened to these words read from Saint Paul.
“For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died … From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way.” (2 Corinthians 5:14, 16).
As I listened, I thought back to tthe rally here in North Carolina some days ago, where the president spoke, and the crowd roared repeatedly about a woman politician, “Send her back, send her back.”
I wondered, if I were there, would the love of Christ urge me on? Would I listen to the words of the president from a human and political point of view? Would I hear the crowds shouting from a human, political point of view?
Or, as Paul said, would I hear both, think of both in view off the love of Christ for them, and for me?
And would I be praying, remembering Jesus dying on the cross for me and for them, “Don’t send us back. Draw us on to you.”
On this Saturday morning, I’m still mulling over what Saint Paul wrote about “redeeming time”. My friend Eric got me thinking earlier this week whether time is broken and how God is redeeming time.
Here are some various translations of Paul’s words.
NIV Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish , but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Philips. Make the best use of your time, despite all of the difficulties of these days. Don’t be vague, but firmly grasp what you now to be the will of God.
The Message. Make the most of every chance you get. There are desperate times. Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.
Good News. Make good use of every opportunity you get because these are bad days. Don’t be fools, then, but try to find out what the Lord wants you to do.
All intriguing. But what does it mean to me on a quiet Saturday morning to redeem the time?
Yesterday I saw The Biggest Little Farm, amazing story of a young couple who took a run down infested farm in California, and in seven years saw it turn into a virtual (almost) paradise. See it and you may never read Psalm 104 about God’s greatness in creation – from grass to springs to cattle to plants – to the food we eat today – in the same way again.
If I went back where I came from it would be my native Canada. A great country. Before that it would’ve been Gods country Wherever that is. The perfect country. For now I am glad to be here, for the most part. But I am still longing for that heavenly country.