Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Prayer of Hope and Calling

I wrote this prayer about a month ago during our Thursday morning Prayer and Praise time at Hoodland Lutheran Church. I hope that it will encourage you as it did me.

Dream the dreams of the Lord. Follow Him, He leads you along His paths.You may see many gathered against you.You may see hard paths, treacherous waters, great trials and tribulations may threaten, but the Lord says: Lift up your eyes, lean not on your own understanding, fear not for I am with you. Behold a great multitude surrounds you. He who keeps you does not slumber nor sleep. He will keep your life.

You are hidden in Christ, what can you fear? Failure? Uselessness? Pain? Rejection? Loss? The Lord is your life and your portion forever. He is the giver of every good thing.

Why do you tremble or doubt, why do you fear?
He is more than able. He is the God of the unprepared, the weak, the foolish. He lifts up the downtrodden; He makes great the unable. We are made strong in His power through our weakness.

Do you not know, have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God... He will not grow tired or weary. His compassion is new every morning. Great is His faithfulness. His love endures forever. His plans will not be thwarted.

God will not waste your life as you seek and trust Him. He will guide, mold and mature you for He knows the plans He has for you and He knows how to prepare you for all that is to come.

He has shown you, o man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you. But to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Friday, April 19, 2013

My Response to 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

Many of my friends know that over the past few weeks I've been reading the book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. It's no great literary work, but I do find that it demands a response. But how should I begin to change my life in ways that eliminate excess for the glory of God and the benefit of other people. There are many ways in which we live to great excess that hinders our worship and our service. I want to address 3 main areas of my life in the coming months: clothes, service and entertainment.

I began with clothes. As an experiment, I tried to breakdown my basic wardrobe needs: everyday, work, workout, nicer, and pajamas. Here's what I ended up with:

It's over 20 items (including 3 pants, 6 basic tops, 6 layers/cardigans/sweaters, and 1 dress plus workout gear) which still seems a bit excessive but I'm not trying to be ascetic. Instead I'm trying to see where excess is pinning me down. In fact here is what I've eliminated:

It's over 100 items! So I'm experimenting with roughly 15% of my usually wardrobe.

My goals with this reduction are: to see how more items complicate my life rather than freeing me, to have a fresh perspective on which item I can give away, and to only keep those few items that work, look good and are functional.

There are spiritual implications here. I am so blessed to have these clothes. Clothes should serve as a means of warmth, modesty, and attractiveness. They should not be a source of stress or a balm for the soul. I feel that God will use this intentional reduction in clothes to lead me in new directions. The first step of faith in taming my surroundings.

That may sound ridiculous to you. Why would God care about my wardrobe? But I see it as a gate into my heart and a means by which to increase my longing to serve others in the community, non just through my bounty (i.e. giving away my belongings) but also through my hospitality (i.e. less stuff = easier house to clean, therefore more time to serve).

So that's my prayer:

O Lord, please use this little experiment as a seed planted in faith. Please grow in me a thankful, serving heart. Help me to live more simply that I might live more abundantly. Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit who will empower me to cling to the cross when I'd rather avoid confronting my sin. Thank you for this opportunity to fight complacency. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Smash: Rewrite This Story

This song will not leave my head:

Then I saw this video and thought, I'm so glad that there's Someone who can re-write our stories.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

New Music Can Be Good Too!

For the most part I am partial to hymns, ancient and modern. I ran across this song today though, and I don't think it can qualify as a hymn but it's not a simple praise chorus either. It'll be on repeat for a while.

I Am Living in a Land of Death
by Citizens

Verse 1:
    F                   Am
I'm living in a land of death
    C                 Fmaj7
the trees are burning grey
          F                    Am
there's a smoldering smoke overhead
and the night looks the same as the day

it seems a miracle that I can stand
when everyone i've known
drifts up in the air with the ash
every time that the wind starts to blow

            F           Am              C
but i feel alive with a life that's not mine
              F              Am             C
your law is a stream in this wasteland - my lifeline

        F                  C
so much more than precious gold
         F           Am
are your promises my lord
        F               C
by them is your servant warned
in keeping them great reward

Verse 3:
your direction is marked in light
your law secures my wounds
i will meditate day and night
and in season you'll harvest your fruit

Verse 4:
though a poison should threaten to kill
i know my Savior reigns
and when the breezes of death leave a chill
I've got Jesus' blood in my veins

Prechorus 2:
So i feel alive with a life that's not mine
and i'm believing that that is your intended design

so much more than precious gold
are your promises my lord
by them is your servant warned
in keeping them great reward


The kingdoms of man have all decayed
the ruins of progress turn to waste
the gods of greed lay in their graves
darkness is everywhere
but there's a path in the dark that has emerged
i can see a great light beyond this curse
a brilliant blaze that is your word
a beacon of hope that burns

and I focus my captivated gaze
on the radiant light from Jesus' face
the water of life is all i crave
only your word remains

So much more than precious gold
is the beauty I behold
give me the glorious reward
of knowing you my king, my lord

Lyrics from:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Paleo Plus - Chicken Chili

One of the challenges of eating well is feeding your family. As you start out eating paleo, you may not yet have your family on board or you may not be able to afford feeding everyone so much fresh food. My current solution is to cook a main portion of my food in common with my family and supplement as necessary for the rest of my family.

I used this recipe from Everyday Paleo, but I made a few modifications to make it fit my life.

First, I put 1.5 lbs of frozen chicken thighs and one can of tomatoes and green chiles along with about 4 cups of water into my crockpot. I turned it on high for 5 hours. This step cooked my chicken as well as making my chicken broth in the recipe. For the adult members of the family, this was my only modification. The result is a deliciously spicy soup. If you choose not to eat it with avocado, you'll definitely need something else to fill you up. This soup brings the flavor, but you'll need a side to be satisfied.

My kids are learning to like spicy things, but, in the main, they are wimps. So when I removed the chicken thighs from the crockpot, I reserved some de-boned meat for them. I served their meat with some Kerrygold Cheddar Cheese and gluten-free tortilla chips. I could have easily made nachos or something similar.

I love that there was no extra work involved, and everyone ate happily.