Saturday, February 26, 2011

the beleaguered city

The Beleaguered City
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I have read, in some old marvelous tale
Some legend strange and vague
That a midnight host of spectres pale
Beleaguered the walls of Prague

Beside the Moldau's rushing stream,
With the wan moon overhead,
There stood, as in an awful dream,
The army of the dead.

White as a sea-fog, landward bound,
The spectral camp was seen,
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,
The river flowed between.

No other voice nor sound was there,
No drum, nor sentry's pace;
The mist-like banners clasped the air,
As clouds with clouds embrace.

But, when the old cathedral bell
Proclaimed the morning prayer,
The white pavilions rose and fell
On the alarmed air.

Down in the broad valley fast and far
The troubled army fled;
Up rose the glorious morning star,
The ghastly host was dead.

I have read, in the marvelous heart of man,
That strange and mystic scroll,
That an army of phantoms vast and wan,
Beleaguer the human soul.

Encamped beside Life's rushing stream,
In Fancy's misty light,
Gigantic shapes and shadows gleam
Portentous through the night.

Upon its midnight battle-ground
The spectral camp is seen,
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,
Flows the River of Life between.

No other voice, nor sound is there,
In the army of the grave;
No other challenge breaks the air,
But the rushing of Life's wave.

And, when the solemn and deep church-bell
Entreats the soul to pray,
The midnight phantoms feel the spell,
The shadows sweep away.

Down the broad Vale of Tears afar
The spectral camp is fled;
Faith shineth as a morning star,
Our ghastly fears are dead.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Invisible Young

Invisible Young

Check out the trailer for a new movie coming out in 2012. We have worked a little with Steve Keller, who is both filming and producing the movie. The stories are true and give an accurate account of what life looks through the eyes of a homeless child.

Monday, February 21, 2011

so...i fell in love again

Today I fell in love with primary sources...again. It was half way through reading Jonathan Edward's "Narrative of Surprising Conversions" that the my stomach knotted a little, my lungs breathed in what felt like the freshest air, and my mind lighted-up. We are so used to looking through others peoples ideas about ideas and, for some odd reason, thinking we are gazing at a clear and true rendering, when all along we could have the conversation ourselves. The only reason why I would get a running magazine is to remind me of the beauty of what I could be experiencing if I would but lace up my shoes and step out the door. When I run, I fall in love again. I fall in love again when I exchange my window booth to stand at the foremost point of the ferry, feeling the wind rip through my hair and thin fleece jacket, watching the water tirelessly play against the small ferry boat it buoyies upon its formless body. I have read countless theologians recount the theology of Jonathan Edwards. Like good critics they began by saying nice things and then went on to say what they disagreed with. If you read too many commentaries they begin to all sound like hyenas prodding an old carcass. Turning to the actual source, Jonathan Edwards (or the Bible, the primary source for all good primary sources), I find a man still alive with passion for Jesus. In his own words he is present. He has not been scrubbed and stretched across canvass, held by a frame. In his Narrative he signs his letter, "I leave this to you, and shall only say, as I desire always to say from my heart, To God be all the Glory whose work alone it is." He is a man excited that Jesus is spoken of in the town and because he sees the evidence of grace in lives, transforming communities. Oh may God grant us more people who fall in love when they hear about God working in their community. And may more people read Edwards and be inspired to go and do likewise.

I will leave you with a journal entry by Jonathan Edwards, which he wrote concerning his future wife, Sarah Pierrepont, titled "Apostrophe to Sarah Pierrepont":

“They say there is a young lady in New Haven who is beloved of that almighty Being, who made and rules the world, and that there are certain seasons in which this great Being, in some way or other invisible, comes to her and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight, and that she hardly cares for anything, except to meditate on him — that she expects after a while to be received up where he is, to be raised up out of the world and caught up into heaven; being assured that he loves her too well to let her remain at a distance from him always. There she is to dwell with him, and to be ravished with his love and delight forever. Therefore, if you present all the world before her, with the richest of its treasures, she disregards it and cares not for it, and is unmindful of any pain or affliction. She has a strange sweetness in her mind, and singular purity in her affections; is most just and conscientious in all her actions; and you could not persuade her to do anything wrong or sinful, if you would give her all the world, lest she should offend this great Being. She is of a wonderful sweetness, calmness and universal benevolence of mind; especially after those seasons in which this great God has manifested himself to her mind. She will sometimes go about from place to place, singing sweetly; and seems to be always of joy and pleasure; and no one knows for what. She loves to be alone, and to wander in the fields and on the mountains, and seems to have someone invisible always conversing with her.”

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Jesus prays

Jesus prays for me: "O righteous Father, the world doesn't know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them,and I will be in them."

Jesus wants this for us...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Runaway accused of selling drugs said she was seeking birth mother » Kitsap Sun

Runaway accused of selling drugs said she was seeking birth mother » Kitsap Sun

This is the reason the Coffee Oasis exists:

For God’s glory and our joy, we are eager to demonstrate the simplicity and sufficiency of Christ to transform hopeless lives and communities, by bringing the hope of Christ to the pain on the streets

Friday, February 11, 2011

how to say, "i love you"

I am sure Valentine's Day has some closet fans, but as the day approaches it seems like you always hear more noise from the staunch love-pessimists that gripe about their infinite singleness. They treat single-life as if it were a loveless-life, which is horrible and untrue. Jesus tells us in John 15:13, "Greater loves has not man than this, that he lay down his life for a friend." I remember God striking my mind--as if with a burning ember--with these words one evening as I sat staring out at the Puget Sound wrestling with the big question of love. I heard the message clearly. There have been times that I have been trouble by how I feel inside. I have wondered, how greatly do I love "this" person. Thinking that love meant either staying or leaving. As though love was something transient or based upon the extent I appreciated certain features of a person's personality. Jesus' asked a man of conviction, "who is your neighbor." Without waiting for a response he launched into the story of the Good Samaritan. We still read the story as if we were the helper. That is an untrue reading. We are the hurting, the broken, the beat-up, the bruised and waiting. The purpose of the story is to show that we need others, such is the way we were created. We even need those people that seem strange to us, like Samaritan's. Once I was in a young boy-young girl relationship (though it might be hard for you to imagine). Trying to be a good Puritan, I tried hard to convince the beautiful young girl that we did not need each others. It was not true. We all need each others. "No man is an island" (thank you, John Donne, I should have listened to you when you first told me this). We often let our heart weaken between the false dilemma of "to love" or "not to love." This dilemma is false, even hurtful, because we are never meant to think about not loving. Because "love is of God and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God" (1 John 4:7-8). Always love. Only by God's great and gentle grace can we move beyond this dilemma to always love. Oh, there is more, but to hear you will have to come on Sunday to hear the next sermon: How to Say, "I Love You."

Friday, February 4, 2011

chronicles of a runaway

Tonight I waited outside of the Coffee Oasis one hour after the doors closed. A younger boy--baby faced with a scratch on the right cheek, a perfect boy scout recruit--had pulled one of the staff aside and told him the truth, "I am a runaway. There is a warrant out for me. I'm ready to go home." He did not want to go home. He was tired of the streets. Home meant neglect and hurt, the streets meant neglect and hunger. Which is worse? If you were a 16-year-old boy what would you choose? What where you doing at the age of 16? We spent our time outside underneath the bright light that illumines the back parking lot. The rain was coming down in delicate drops that drift softly upon the loose wind. I opened my Bible to Psalm 46 and entered verse 10 as the officer drove up--"Be still, and now that I am God." We waved the officer down and he played a longer, much more painful version of 20-questions. The gist of his message was: "You don't really want to be you, do you?" No, not right now. Who would want to be standing in abandoned Bremerton at 11:00pm with Washington weather working its way into your thin sweatshirt as you prepare your journey towards a dreaded house by being handcuffed?

Pray Psalm 46 for this young man.

Ruth 4: Finding Redemption

This is the morning after a long night. Along the way we have been forced to ask where this strange and painful road has been leading: the road to Moab, the road back to Bethlehem, the walk of a foreigner, the walk of a widowed woman, the walk of a mature-single man, and the walk of choosing righteousness over fleeting pleasures. To see the small story we must widen our view to see the big story—to see God! What we could not see along the way is that God weaving our story with His glory. We have been waiting to see over the difficult hill of righteousness to see the rising dawn. This should cause us to appreciate God’s plan over our own. God’s view is redemption, while ours is often a long string of temporary appeasements. Let us acknowledge that his ways are truly higher, and praise him for that! “Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today.” The redeemer is God himself.