There are times in life that I want to scream STOP!!! to the mad pace of life that surrounds me. Today, I’ll compare it to a tornado or a hurricane. In the center of the windstorm is the eye where all is calm. But around it swirls a howling gale. If you’re in the eye, all is peace and nothing can affect you. But should you be on just to one side, the gale tugs at you. And not to far from where all is calm, everything is in a turmoil. Currently I’m half ways in between. I know where my center of being is, where I will find my peace and calm. Yet the pace of life is screaming fast and even when you think you have a break, something happens or you are reminded of a obligation that hasn’t been met yet and you find yourself hopping back on the treadmill, desperately running just to keep pace. So much for that. On to today’s muse…
Our pastor said it right. Nothing I can do or think will ever change the personhood of Jesus. Nothing I say will deny Him of His supreme lordship overall the earth. Last week, he and I, as well as the rest of our ministry group, met people who were zealous for their own beliefs. People that dedicated themselves to a system and faithfully performed their obligations. There were those who deny the existence of God, those that tried to include everyone in their belief system. But that is not what the Bible clearly teaches. Jesus is God’s Son. He existed before all things and He currently is sustaining everything, including these fingers as they pound out this post. By thinking otherwise, I can’t deny it. By railing against it, I can’t silence this truth. By living contrary to it will I evade Him.
I don’t consider this a downer or a negative to my life. Contrary, I embrace it. I accept it. Why? For in Him, the person of Jesus Christ, I find my center, my solitude from the storm. That is my peace when duties press.
Being appointed as trip photographer for the ministry trip to New York City, I felt like I needed to go out and brush up my photography. One of my fellow students, Daniel Martin, and I went on a photo walk. It was fun to get out and shoot pictures again. It was so much fun to shoot pictures again. He took the first 2 pictures and the last one is mine. The abstracts are shot using a fun technique. It takes a ordinary pattern of anything, a brick wall, leaves on a bush, etcetera, and turns them into something intriguing. In this case, it’s a rock pile at the township building.
The method is simple. One way is to focus and twist the camera as the shutter is in the process of snapping. Another is to zoom either in or out while the shutter is open. Both ways are fun and add a dimension of motion to ordinary pictures. If you enjoy photography and haven’t tried this, you ought to. About the only drawback is a possible sense of vertigo! Daniel took the first two and I told him that I would post them if he gave them to me. So, duty compels me but the abstract artistry makes me want to post it. The last photo is one of mine.
today I was at the Teen Challenge with the rest of the ministry team. Teen Challenge is the drug rehabilitation program that David Wilkerson started. later, I was thinking about this in the afternoon and two things came to mind; two areas that I saw in my own life that lacked.
one, was a lack of love for the Father. many times I act, live and serve….for no other reason than because it’s the thing to do. I do it because it’s expected of me. this scared me and I pled with God to give me more love for Him, a deeper, more passionate affection for Him. if I don’t have that love, out of what will I empathize with others? what will be the resource by which I approach a need? I can’t think of anything that can take the place of love. our need is to love in order to love; to love in order to tap into that divine love and the love tapped into will be the love that flows out when we are tapped into. wow! does that last sentence make sense?
the second lack was that of joy in my life. I had been reading in the book of Proverbs where it said that the days of a righteous man are filled with joy. this promise I claimed and again my heart’s cry was that this joy, this inner welling up of daily praise for each day would be a real present factor in my life.
all these thoughts caused me to think about how to bring this about. how can I cause myself to love more, to joy in the daily goodness of God? in answer, the Spirit seemed to direct me to open to the book of Ephesians. I scanned the 3rd chapter, then the 4th. nothing that seemed to give some light. backtracking to the 2nd chapter, I found the answer. in verse 8, the answer came and God spoke to me. “for by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. not of works, lest anyone should boast.
this afternoon, I had to realize that I can’t earn my salvation. it only takes faith in the redemptive work of Christ. salvation is God’s gift to us who want to believe. a gift is something that isn’t earned. it’s given out of the goodness of the giver. the giver constitutes the gift.
this did allay those thoughts of trying to manufacture my own love and joy. I don’t need to know. it’s a gift given to me. all I need to do is ask
Ah, this trip through life continues.
Today, I and the rest of the ministry team that I am a part of attended the Times Square Church in Times Square New York. This was an amazing experience! Not only was the church building unique, a reclaimed theater but the fact that this was Dave Wilkerson’s church added a different feel to the worship experience. As the praise and worship service commenced, I was eager to hear the message and discover how sincere this church actually was. For someone who doesn’t like to be stereotyped, I had this place in a box. Times Square and New York City, how sincere and spiritual can this church be? Was I wrong! The senior pastor, Carter Conlon, preached a very inspiring message and although it was more pentecostal than most Mennonite services, there was nothing missing from his theology. Suffice it to say, it was an experience. I’ll write more about it later when I post pictures of the place, of which I could have spent the good part of the day taking pictures inside of it.
One thing that was notable was the diversity of ethnicity in the service. At last count, or so we heard, they had 129 different ethnic groups represented at this church on a Sunday morning. When you have over 7,000 people that attend one of the three Sunday services, you are bound to have a mix of races and tongues present. That was neat; like a slight glimpse of heaven. As Christians, we are members of the family of Christ and where ever we go, when we meet fellow believers, we have a bond that unites us. This bond I experienced in a very real way and like I never have before. The members are super friendly. If you are ever in New York City for a Sunday morning, attend here. It’s a beneficial experience.
Tonight, I’m thankful for a Jesus that cares for us, a group of people that I’m part of in experiencing the different missions and sub-cultures of New York with and friends that lend a listening ear when we need them to. I shall write more later but for now, that is all. Tomorrow is another day in the big city.
Ah, tonight I walked into my dorm and picked up my camera. The heft felt comfortable and familiar. The controls felt at home beneath my fingers. Trying to judge it’s capabilities in the dim light of my room, I pointed to the window and snap! took a picture. Hmm, me thinks, this looks intriguing, I played around and got this interesting shot of a lime green fan with a alarm clock set beside it. How random could this shot be without deliberately setting it up? It intrigued me. No, it’s not a striking shot by no means. But it’s a still that some how grabbed a part of me. So I’m sharing it here, my online outlet for expression of…me!
This is straight out of the camera. It’s a combination of coloring and the randomness of the set up that grabbed my attention.
Turning slightly to my right, I found this on my tea shelf. The “Rey”, the Spanish word for king, peeping out at me.
That’s the pictures for now. Photo posting has declined since I returned from South America. It’s a practice I need to get back into. Friday morning, I’m leaving for New York City and have been tapped as trip photographer (gulp!, I don’t think they know what they are getting. oh well, fake till you make it, right?). So there’s a chance that some pictures will be making their way to this site. I’m getting excited for the possibilities of street photography. Now, I need to go and shoot around a bit.
To readers of this humble blog,
Although there are many good books available to read, there must, MUST, be a continual awareness to subtle truths that are conveyed and yet are not Biblically sound. And given the fact that I recently wrote on Under the Overpass and believe it is a well written book that describes the plight of the homeless on the streets of America, I feel I should point out two potential discrepancies.
The first that I’ll mention is under the San Francisco section of the book. Yankoski speaks of a man named Henry. I won’t go into all the details or quote verbatim from the book. If you have the book, look it up. If you find yourself reading it, keep it in mind when you come to this section. But about Henry…Yankoski would prefer to describe him as a mental case although, from the information that he gives, I would say that Henry was more demonically influenced. But, I wasn’t there. I have never met Henry. Yankoski shies away from saying this. He says, and I quote, “I prefer to live in a world I can explain”.
The second item I’d like to point is again in the San Francisco chapter. Right after they had prayed for God to supply their need, somebody walks past carrying a box that had pizza leftovers in it. They asked for it and received it. In the ensuing conversation between the two of them, they decided that they had to ‘pick up the manna’. This line of thinking was tied to the possibility of the Israelites starving while surrounded by food or manna. In other words, could a Israeli have died from starvation simply by staying in his tent and not going out to pick up manna? But this fails at times. What if we encounter a situation where everyone says that it is the right thing to do but we don’t have God’s approval to proceed? Should we proceed and look for that approval later? These two guys almost indicate by their conversation that that should be the case. So a caution on that. There are times that God asks us to step out in faith but there are other situations that require us to wait on God to act. We NEED discernment to know the difference between the two.
These two points may be arbitrary but it came up in conversation with one of my friends so I thought I’d mention it. fwiw….
Again, for this post I’m dipping again back into Ecclesiastes but this time, the 2nd chapter.
Solomon, with all his wealth, pursued life and it’s bountiful pleasures. So he says in this chapter. His was a pursuit for fulfillment for what satisfies the human heart; what do men find pleasing and fulfilling in this life. He wanted to find this satisfaction and and, as he says in vs 3, “which they should do all the days of their life”. So not only to find ultimate satisfaction but then to pursue it till death. Did he find it? No. There was nothing he didn’t try. Whatever he wanted, he got.
What was he trying to run from? The answer comes…death. It’s a fact of life. He, a wise man, would eventually die. So would the beggars of his time. And after death, everything he did, he would leave behind. So the question is asked, what did all those possessions of his benefit him? They didn’t. He recognizes this and there’s anguish in his voice as he asks in vs 19, “and who knows if he will be a wise man or a fool? he will rule over all my labour”.
Ecclesiastes is a book of man’s search for God. The rest of the Bible is about God’s search for man.