Sunday, May 31, 2009

a porch panoramic

I am enjoying the evening cool from the deck of my 2nd story apartment. There is a thick greenbelt around the complex that is garmented in non-bearing fruit trees and evergreens. Between a few of the evergreens, one having the broken top of an eages perch, I have a sunset view over the eastern side of the Olympic mountain range, which faithfully stands each day as tables beneath the peach spring sky. I swing upon a tilting bench that is just big enough for two and a child. Directly in front of me are the blinking lights of Green Mountains cell towers and above the moon holds pause as a rearview mirror for the sun keep a watchful eye over that it misses. Teach us to number our days aright, that we might gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

dozens of lovely encounters

The last two weeks has brought over a dozen friends from Pullman through the Bremerton area. Jesus told his disciples, "I call you each other" (John 15:15). We are not to be scanty with our love. Have you been? Cease to be so scarce! Love outright! Not merely because it is a command ("This is my command: love each other." - John 15:17) but because it is renewing ("love builds up" - 1 Corinthians 8:1). Companionship is often underestimated. I remember reading Leonard Ravenhill comment on how great eagles fly alone and kingly lions hunt alone, but is it good for man to be alone? I talked with a friend the other day as we worked in the kitchen and she told me about her favourite parts of Chronicles of Narnia, since she is in the midst of reading through them again. She is also likes to taste books and talks about them like a gluttonous child might describe a perfectly scrumptious doughnut. One of her choice parts was when Alsan, having discovered Lucy and Susan following him, asked the two girls to put their hand in his great mane so he could feel them beside him as he walked towards the stone table. He laid down life as he walked, bearing even then such an unimaginable weight that his paws barely left the ground as they proceeded toward the climax of law and love. It was a new perspective for me of the last hours of Jesus in the garden. My view up till this point has been that his request of the disciples to stay with him for an hour of prayer was a final word of instruction. I do not think it was a last moment teaching opportunity. He wanted them to be with Him, to share time, knowing that time was short. Do you have time? Do you ever make "sacrifices" for love? What do you love? Who do you love? Do they know?

"The prisoner, the sick, the christian in exile sees in the companionship of a fellow Christian as a physical sign of the gracious presence of the triune God. Visitor and visited in loneliness recognize in each other the Christ who is present in the body; they receive and meet each other as one meet's the Lord, in reverence, humility, and joy. But if there is so much blessing and joy even in a single encounter of brother with brother, how inexhaustible are the riches that open up for those who by God's will are privileged to live in the daily fellowship of life with other Christians!" -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Monday, May 11, 2009


A quick post before an evening of studying. The sun is holding onto its lofty perch over the jagged jaws of a the tree line in the sky as I write, quite a fantastic site. I wanted to write to honor a woman. A woman who has love me and has been a near friend. She is a fun girl and is not ashamed to dye the sprinkles of gray out of her hair to chase away the creeping later years of life. This morning as I drove up to our house she was on her hands and knees in the dirt (she doesn't mind getting dirty) and look up just in time to give me a funny look. "Oh my! I am always out here long than I plan." She had substitute taught music for 4 period to classes of 1st and 2nd graders, and she was full of stories as she hurriedly put her tools away and wiped the weedy mud off her hands. One thing that I love about my mother is her creativity. What would you do if you taught music to a group of kids that you had no familiarity with? Well, for starters she had them do rhythm exercises with drum sticks, and then scarf dancing while she played the piano (when the music stopped they had to drop down and cover themselves like a caterpillar in a cocoon). The final period she hosted the schools three-person strong xylophone club. So what then? Watch? Surely not! She learned one of the songs and played a duet with one of the girls.

Her faithful life has made mother's day easy for me. It is a joy to be her son and share these short days at home with her. This evening as she cooked I read her the first chapters of "Shadow of the Almighty." I think even that is evidence of her passion. When asked several weeks ago what she wanted to have passed onto all of her children she replied, "an abiding love for God and an enjoyment of books, music, and nature." My life is indelibly marked by her faithfulness.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

such a day as today

"I walked out to the hill just now. It is exalting, delicious, to stand embraced by the shadow of a friendly tree with the wind tugging at your coat-tail and the heavens hailing your heart, to gaze and glory and give oneself again to God--what more can a man ask for?" - Jim Elliot

Monday, May 4, 2009

of what angel's sing

On Sunday afternoon Rocky stopped by to drop-off the shopping list for Monday morning. I had just returned from my afternoon run. We shared the kitchen and talked about things that are the theme of angel songs. He told me the story of a girl that has spent the last two months slowly working off her endless hours of community service washing dishes in the afternoons at the coffee shop. On Friday this girl had been severely slacking in her responsibilities so Erica pulled her into the office and gently asked her how they could work together on proficiency. In a moment the girl was out of the office yelling. Erica pursued. For the next two hours Erica washed dishes and told this girl about Jesus. As Rocky told me about this he expressed his own encouragement from the story, "Daniel, this is the stuff angel's sing about!" The next day, today, the girl came in and quit. Erica cried. Erica and I talked together and she told me, "I am just so discouraged. I keep wondering if I did something wrong. Maybe I got too excited that God was going to change her heart." This was my encouragement. I thought of Hebrews 11, "men and women of whom the world is not worthy." Pray for Erica. It is an honor to work with her. On Sunday I preached in Hosea 6, "What will I do with you, O Ephraim? What will I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like the morning mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." Erica's love has not vanished. Within moments a new group of kids had found there way through the swinging doors of the coffee shop and she was back in the fray, praying and counseling, and, yes, crying.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

John and Betty Stam

Betty Stam, who was executed as a missionary in China, wrote at age 18:
Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, All my own desires and hopes, And accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all Utterly to Thee to be Thine forever.Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt. And work out They whole will in my life, at any cost, Now and forever.

John, her husband, in writing to his father mentioned the prevailing dangers which lay ahead, had enclosed verses which, though written by another, he said expressed his own feelings.

Afraid? Of what?
To feel the spirit’s glad release?
To pass from pain to perfect peace,
The strife and strain of life to cease?
Afraid—of that?

Afraid? Of what?
Afraid to see the Savior’s face,
To hear His welcome, and to trace
The glory gleam from wounds of grace?
Afraid—of that?

Afraid? Of what?
A flash—a crash—a pierced heart;
Darkness—Light—O Heaven’s art?
A wound of His a counterpart!
Afraid?—of that?

Afraid? Of what?
To do by death what life could not—
Baptize with blood a stony plot,
Till souls shall blossom from the spot?
Afraid?—of that?