Wednesday, September 30, 2009

fantastic tales

Silverdale was wrapped in silvery fog this morning. Woke up a more coldy than I went to bed, but it feels little more than a desire to sit in a chair beside a fire-warmed hearth and read for a long evening. Tomorrow we officially become owners of the Solid Rock Cafe in Port Orchard. Pray for the details. Along with expanding locations we are expanding our staff. Pat Steele, Erica's husband, begins work tomorrow as our volunteer coordinator and liaison to local churches and businesses. Miracles abound, but none more fascinating than to see the work God continues to do in our hearts daily.

Here is a clip sent to me last week that you might enjoy taken from C.S. Lewis's fantastic tale The Silver Chair:
...The wood was so still that it was not difficult to decide where the sound was coming from. It grew clearer every moment and, sooner than she expected, she came to an open glade and saw the stream, bright as glass, running across the turf a stone's throw away from her. But although the sight of the water made her feel ten times thirstier than before, she didn't rush forward and drink. She stood as still as if she had been turned into stone, with her mouth wide open. And she had a very good reason: just on this side of the stream lay the Lion. It lay with its head raised and its two fore-paws out in front of it, like the lions in Trafalgar Square. She knew at once that it had seen her, for its eyes looked straight into hers for a moment and then turned away—as if it knew her quite well and didn't think much of her. "If I run away, it'll be after me in a moment," thought Jill. "And if I go on, I shall run straight into its mouth." Anyway, she couldn't have moved if she had tried, and she couldn't take her eyes off it. How long this lasted, she could not be sure; it seemed like hours. And the thirst became so bad that she almost felt she would not mind being eaten by the Lion if only she could be sure of getting a mouthful of water first. "If you're thirsty, you may drink." They were the first words she had heard since Scrubb had spoken to her on the edge of the cliff. For a second she stared here and there, wondering who had spoken. Then the voice said again, "If you are thirsty, come and drink," and of course she remembered what Scrubb had said about animals talking in that other world, and realised that it was the Lion speaking. Anyway, she had seen its lips move this time, and the voice was not like a man's. It was deeper, wilder, and stronger, a sort of heavy, golden voice. It did not make her any less frightened than she had been before, but it made her frightened in rather a different way. "Are you not thirsty?" said the Lion. "I'm dying of thirst," said Jill. "Then drink," said the Lion. "May I—could I—would you mind going away while I do?" said Jill. The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realised that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience. The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic. "Will you promise not to—do anything to me, if do come?" said Jill. "I make no promise," said the Lion. Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer. "Do you eat girls?" she said. "I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms," said the Lion. It didn't say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it. "I daren't come and drink," said Jill. "Then you will die of thirst," said the Lion. "Oh dear!" said Jill, coming another step nearer. I suppose I must go and look for another stream then." "There is no other stream," said the Lion...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Have you ever heard of Debbie Macomber? Here is a brief bio from her website: "Debbie Macomber, the author of BACK ON BLOSSOM STREET, SUSANNAH’S GARDEN, A GOOD YARN, THE SHOP ON BLOSSOM STREET, BETWEEN FRIENDS and the Cedar Cove series, is one of today’s leading voices in women’s fiction. A regular on every major bestseller list with more than 100 million copies of her books in print, the award-winning author celebrated a new career milestone in September 2007, when the latest in her Cedar Cove series, 74 SEASIDE AVENUE, scored #1 on the NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, Publishers Weekly and Bookscan bestseller lists. Her popularity is worldwide with her books translated into twenty-three languages."

So why do I ask? Debbie Macomber is the owner of the building that the Solid Rock Cafe rents space from in Port Orchard. Last week the owners of the Solid Rock Cafe, located only a couple blocks from South Kitsap High School, called and asked if we were interested in buying their business. I will not offer many details, but ask for prayer. I set today aside for personal prayer concerning this expansion. Our ministry vision was to expand into Port Orchard in 2010, but sometimes God makes the mustard seed bloom early. After talking with the business owners and Debbie Macomber (yes, the Debbie Macomber) expansion is looking likely. Pray for wisdom for my Father and strength for the staff. Pray for my maturity. Pray that the word "Gospel" will not pass through my lips without me having conviction of the cost, promise, and reward.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

an open experience

"When Divine love slips into the inner spirit and takes over our habit patterns...there is no longer the tiring need to hide our inner selves from others." - Richard J. Foster

Clarity at teen night tonight. Pray for staff training tomorrow.

Frequent meditations on the experience of God and encouraged to include it more in declaring the promises of God in the full gospel. God does not just save us to have developed worldviews, but an intimate experience of HIMSELF. He offers HIMSELF. He takes our sin and gives us HIMSELF. Hudson Taylor and others have called it "the great exchange." It could also be called "the great fear." And Satan whispers the same temptation that he did to Jesus standing on the pinnacle of the temple, "will He catch you if you jump?" "Christian," he whispers, "will God be there when you are lonely." Prepare your response, "do not test the Lord." He has not changed, but how quickly we do! I talked with a sailor tonight for over a half-hour. He told me he was so experienced with sex that it has no pleasure anymore. He told me even that gets old. I told him that God redeems everything. He redeems it by offering HIMSELF. Our thoughts of pleasure do not reach what he can do with a new heart and an insatiable and high taste for Glory.

Frequent fantasies about flyfishing (ha!), but must burrow into work.

Monday, September 7, 2009

from home and dosewallips

Snagged four Cutthroat Trout Fly fishing the Dosewallips River. Enlivening. Wading through the whites of the sprinting stream to get closer to the perfect spot. Olympic Forest rain. 25+ head herd of elk. Even here I need to quiet my mind. If I don't stop and seek Him even there I will go the whole day without thinking. But when the mist settles over the river at 7 o'clock and the river valley is filled by the creeping avalanche of evening I am satisfied with the answers that He gives.

"Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below."
- Katharina Von Schlegel 1697-?

An old story was "brought home" last night. I went home to feast upon my mothers cooking, and was about to read to her from a Elisabeth Elliot's novel No Graven Image when a new member of the house walked into the kitchen. I greeted him and gave a short synopsis of the book and the author's story. I told him how Elisabeth ("Betts" as Jim would affectionately call her) went back to the tribe that had killed her husband and how God had worked in the hearts of the whole tribe. A contemplative look came over the man's face. "How can you forgive someone who killed someone that you loved?" He asked. "I have not had that happen," was my first response, "We are told, though, that God gave His saw His own Son die to forgive us who deserved that very same death. Our sins were the murderer. God does not tell us the story as a means of condemning us though. Christ was condemned instead. He tells us to let us know that forgiveness is available and that 'by His wounds we can be healed.'" I thought that I had given a pretty good answer. But there was more. "38 years ago," he continued, "a man kidnapped, raped, and murdered my sister and is now sitting in Walla Walla. His actions and the despair that followed made myself and my parents turn to alcoholism. I don't know how to forgive that. I was thinking about writing him a letter to tell him to seek forgiveness from God." We continued to talk until dinner was ready. Please pray for those that we talked to and for myself and the rest of the Oasis staff that see and hear. It is not that the answers we give our wrong, but sometimes I feel as though my mind and heart are not large enough.

"Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last."

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom's Cabin is one of the greatest books I have ever read.

remember, child


Kickin' it with kix cereal after teen night. Picked up a hitchhiker on the way home tonight who had a fabulous, long beard. He gave me an avocado!

Spent the last half-hour before leaving sitting in the empty shop with Curtis and Danny praying for ourselves and our Christian brothers and sisters to be only satisfied with intimacy with God.

Ate at Salvation Army for lunch. The Major gave us an open invite to come often and interact with the others that come for a hot lunch.

In between music practice and teen night Jacob, Susannah and I had a Bible study at Megan's house. She is so eager to hear the word that she called because I was late. Thankfully she was merciful and forgave my terrible habit of lateness. Going through Mark (and the correlating parts in Matthew) I taught on the temptation of Jesus. I saw something new studying the temptations today. At the end of the baptism the Father speaks clearly, "You are my beloved Son." Satan's challenge was twice, "If you are the Son...." Forty days of fasting could have made the wonderful experience of the baptism seem distant, even unreal. What does only four days do to the experiences of intimacy that we have had with the Father? And then the deceiver taps, "are you really a child of God?" Are you? O but it was four days ago that you felt close! Why do I feel so distant now? Is it true? The scenario is little different than the setting in Eden and perhaps it will help you understand our first parents dilemma. The snake asked plainly, "did God really say?" Has God really told you that you can cast your cares on Him because He cares for you? Does that seem long ago? The promise has not changed, only you have. "But man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." How could we ever expect to live on bread alone when we are almost immedietly hungry again after eating. Jesus forcefully lived upon the satisfying and assuring word of the Father that does not change and by those same means can we survive, thrive and shine. He held to the words, "You are my Son; with you I am well pleased." Hold to the words, "you are my child......"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

telling of home and a future one

Just finished an evening prayer with my two roommates. I arrived several hours late for Zack's birthday dinner. Jacob, Erica, and I spent the afternoon in Seattle visiting the Orion Center (a multifaceted center for homeless youth). Please pray for my visit with the Homeless Liaison for the Central Kitsap school district tomorrow.

Here are a few excerpts from Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin:

"This, indeed, was home, --home--a word that George had never yet known a meaning for; and a belief in God, and trust in his providence began to encircle his heart, as, with a golden cloud of protection and confidence, dark, misanthropic, pining, atheistic doubts, and fierce despair, melted away before the light of a living Gospel, breathed in living faces, preached by a thousand unconscious acts of love and good will, which, like the cup of cold water given in the name of a disciple, shall never lose their reward."

"It is strange, then, that some tears fall on the pages of his Bible, as he lays it on the cotton-bale, and, with patient finger, threading his slow way from word to word, traces out its promises? Having learned late in life, Tom was but a slow reader, and passed on laboriously from verse to verse. Fortunate for him was it that the book he was intent on was one which slow reading cannot injure,--nay, one whose words, like ingots of gold, seem often to need to be weighed separately, that the mind may take in their priceless value. Let us follow him a moment, as, pointing to each word, and pronouncing each half aloud, he reads,
'let--not--your--heart--be--troubled. In--my--Father's--house--are--many--mansions--. I--go--to--prepare--a--place--for--you.'
Cicero, when he buried his darling and only daughter, had a heart as full of honest grief as poor Tom's,--perhaps no fuller, for both were only men;--but Cicero could pause over no such sublime words of hope, and look to no such future reunion; and if he had seen them, ten to one he would not have believed,--he must fill his head first with a thousand questions of authenticity of manuscript, and correctness of translation. But, to poor Tom, there it lay, just what he needed, so evidently true and divine that the possibility of a question never entered his simple head. It must be true; for, if not true, how could he live?
His Bible was thus marked through, from one end to the other, with a variety of styles and designations; so he could in a moment seize upon his favorite passages, without the labor of spelling out what lay between them;--and while it lay there before him, every passage breathing of some old home scene, and recalling some past enjoyment, his Bible seemed to him all of this life that remained, as well as the promise of a future one."

In speaking of the future one, please remember this Sunday in prayer as I preach on the last 2/3 of 1 Corinthians 15. "I tell you a mystery we will not all sleep, BUT we will all be changed." It is a sure things: we will be changed. Can we be ready? I am more stumped on how to preach this passage than I have been in a long while. Paul's first concern was that most live as thought there is no resurrection. Don't we act the same? I have said and heard, "O I long for heaven," while in reality there is little evidence that we believe in the forevermore. What would change if we lived with surety?