Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Psalm 34:1-3

This weekend I had a lot of memories of Fusion in mind, and I also found a box of old journals. When I first joined in 2009 during morning devotions we would often each do a paraphrase of scripture, then share with each other. Sometimes this would mean directing it specifically towards us, "I will..," other times it would mean breaking down what some of those large concepts mean "love" is huge. It was always encouraging to see how the Spirit would move and use scripture to speak to our lives individually and collectively. Here's one I did this morning of Psalm 34:1-3:

Regardless of circumstance, position or struggle praises will come out of my mouth like rapid fire, 

Like springs of life. 
My soul will find satisfaction and pride in my God, and any bragging will be about His Glory. The oppressed, the marginalized, the afflicted, the suffering, Will hear these praises, share and join - in the collective joy of our Lord and King. Join us as we exalt the best name together, As we put the name of Jesus higher than ourselves.

Monday, April 28, 2014


Puzzle and possibility. Marred yet wonderfully made, forged by hands that know behemoth and minutiae. Despite myself I give you praise. Suffused darkness with Light, showcasing your long glory. The privilege of knowing surpassing the burden of the cost. Death for life, you aide my plight. Replacing poison with balm you comfort and redeem, my knight, my rock, my all. My Saviour.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Key Questions

There are a few key questions that are really at the core of our walk with Jesus. Now I write this knowing full well that I am no theologian – knowing that this is in no way an exhaustive list. These are questions that I have noticed come up when we’re living missionally, sometimes at big watershed moments, where things are clearly and tangibly wrong, and other times when we are physically exhausted. There often comes a time when we need to remind ourselves of the choices we have made, the promises and standards we have signed up for, and our need to commit to those ever further every day. We remind ourselves of these, not to carry on with a pile of works like a spiritual pack mule somehow trying to earn our own salvation, but because our commitments remind us of the one we have chosen to serve, our beloved Jesus, because He first loved us.

Will you love when it is hard? Will you watch something that you have invested, loved and poured into be torn apart by vultures, or literally burn and go up in smokes – but push on in love and obedience to God’s call; knowing that our agony and empathy is nothing compared to that of our Creators? Will you continue to love and care for people and places when it literally tears you up from the inside out? Will you find rest in God’s sovereignty? Will you love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, and lean not on your own understanding?

I remain confident with every fiber of my being, and molecule of my heart, that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God that is Jesus Christ my Lord. (Romans 8:38-39). I recognize that my sufferings are small, and they are a privilege, compared to the weight of the cross carried by my King.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bears with Plates.

Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me
Luke 9:23

Perhaps one of the most confounding things about walking with Christ is the incredible amount of balancing that occurs. Far from implying some sort of juggling act - maybe with bears, plates and combustible items; what I mean is a genuine stable, steady balance. A completeness.  Jesus is not lacking or compensating, He’s not fluctuating on a spectrum of polarity. Our God is constant and good.

However, as we little ones work that out it doesn’t look nearly as pretty, i.e. we can speak the truth in love, and we can also be big old fashioned jerks as we figure it out. As the Holy Spirit guides us and teaches us things we focus on them, sometimes losing sight of other aspects of our faith and walk. Gradually these bends are often mediated as the spirit works on us, and we are made more like Jesus. We are also blessed with other parts of the body of Christ that are blessed with different giftings and we learn from each other. We work all this out in the comfort and shelter of grace.

This sense of balance and fullness is tricky, and is something that I have been very aware of lately. Naturally, I can be very action oriented and I have been in a few situations lately where I simply need to wait. I am vulnerable and exposed emotionally. Through any wide array of feelings it became a lot more real to me that grace and annoyance are not opposites, but rather interrelated as one person lays down their rights for the good of the other. Yet somehow, this can still be mutually beneficial. This is especially true when we are laying down our pride and privileges because of obedience to the cross - rather than obedience to the whims of the world. When our self-worth is centered, based, concretely established in Christ we are free to live without the flimsy shelter of ego and pretense, we are free to lose our life. The growing pains are tremendous, but the freedom is more authentic than anything we have ever known.

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
John 12:25

Monday, March 18, 2013


March can be a hard month, it's a time of transitions, particularly for teachers as we approach the long end of the school year. This is definitely exacerbated in climates that have winter, and especially in a state like Michigan.  There is not an even gradient of winter giving way to spring, and daylight savings time makes that even more convoluted. In this time of flux, sometimes we hit a wall where we really feel the toil of the long winter months, while the flirting presence of spring also fills us with desires to be up and active. At least for me, this sometimes puts me at war with myself, needing to rest and needing to do. It feels like mile 19 in a marathon. This morning, as I felt absolutely drained this scripture encouraged me:

You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light. 
With your help I can advance against a troop; 
with my God I can scale a wall.

Psalm 18:28-29

I fully recognize that my soul often turns to dark places when I am exhausted, and yet I am trusting in the Lord to turn that into light. To keep this lamp burning bright, and not waning.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Rumble Strips

Today while I was driving home on M10, one of a number of local highways for you non-Michiganders, I had to smile thinking of some of my driving experiences when I first moved to Detroit. First of all, I was an inexperienced driver, who learned to drive on the left rather than right. These factors alone are fraught with comedic/terrifying potential. Mix in there the intense nature (some might say survival of the fittest/free for all) of Detroit driving, there were some exciting times! Late one night when I was particularly tired during my first month of teaching, I was so tired I broke traffic laws. I was not supposed to merge onto the highway and get off at the next exit, but I was so tired I said I was just going to do it. There weren't many cars out anyway. So here I was getting ready to merge over several lanes of traffic, when a car with no headlights came zooming down the highway. I freaked and swerved back into my land. Then all I heard was a thundering crunching sound. Then I just knew, that I had scraped the entire side of my car on the cement partition. My literally brand new car I might add, which had been purchased a month before with only 80 miles on it.  I was beside myself with grief that in one reckless act, I had spoiled everything I had been blessed with. So I exited the highway, pulled over in the nearest place possible to check my damage. Not a scratch. It was then and only then that I remembered that in the U.S. there are "Rumble Strips" to keep drivers awake and alert.

This week and month have been really tumultuous and trying for many of my friends. We have seen and experienced gruesome things, sorrow and the loss of loved ones in our presence. For me personally all these occurrences have served as a reminder, that there is always life and death, every single day. In beautiful and tragic ways. So many of these events are wake up calls, rather than the full on disasters that they could be.

When my grandmother died a couple years ago now, I read a scripture at her funeral and afterwards people with an element of surprise in their tone said "You read that with so much conviction." As if it were foolish to believe.

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:35-39

In the presence of death I am constantly reminded of the beauty of Jesus. Of the beauty of a death of sacrifice, of our savior's death for us, and the many ways we die daily- or should be dying daily, to be more fully alive, holy and set apart. Whether that is to addiction or self-absorption, pride, anger, passive-aggressive habits, this kind of redeeming work that the holy spirit does in us is a beautiful thing.

The physical death of others is also a constant reminder of the ever present choice of life or death. We choose to daily whether to live or die, because a life without God is not living. Separation from God is one of the most painful things that a person can endure, and yet we anesthetize ourselves with creature comforts and pursuits until we are numb to reality.

While we yearn for their company and sense their absence, this is why the physical death of a saved person, someone who not only knows about Jesus but has clung to Him with everything that they have, is so moving. It is a "Rumble Strip" wake up call to prioritize, and to be aware of the reality of the world around us, a call to drop pretenses and prioritize what matters, to be about our Father's business.