Archive for April, 2012

The last, what i would say, great book that i read was The Shack. i am working on what might be another one, but in no way, except for the stirring up of ideas that it expresses and how it puts words to my thoughts. The author is Eugene Peterson, yes the author of The Message. The title is Life At It’s Best and it is the compilation of three books that he wrote. The Journey was written in the early 80’s. The Quest in the late 80’s and the Gift in the early 90’s. It is the Gift that has captured my attention. Due to all the copy write laws and such i can not do things the way i would like, so i will simply take it day by day and see where it goes. i want everyone to know up front that my thoughts are being expressed in conjunction with the writings of the Gift but… i would not be posting regarding these thoughts if they were not in part my own thoughts. The Shack for me expressed words and ideas that i had but never shared or expressed because they were not the main stream. The Gift is similar only i have spoken these ideas, having never heard of this book until a week or so ago when one of the people i am doing life with shared it with me.

People ask me all the time what i like to be called and my usual response is simply, ed. Recently we began a home church and i accepted the official title of pastor and for that reason i have been using the title of Pastor ed. There has always been a respect for the title of pastor on my part. As a child being brought to Sunday School on a church bus the pastor was someone i looked up to. Pastor was a supreme calling from God. The pastor knew how to hear from God. The pastor was like best friends with God, respectfully of course. The Pastor was the leader, the caretaker, the authority when it came to church, the word and God. It would never cross my mind to use the birth name of a pastor without the title attached. Being a pastor was what i thought was the highest calling possible and i think most people around me thought so as well or at least so it appeared to in my eyes.

Webster’s gets the definition right, at least for me; Pastor – a person having spiritual care of a number of persons. But there is a problem. Like so many other words and titles, pastor has been diluted, watered down to often mean nothing more than being a puppet or a personality that is capable of delivering a great message 52 weeks of the year. Today there are pastors that never spend more than a few moments greeting people at the end of the service. There are pastors that would not know where to begin counseling people even if they had a slight desire to. Pastors today suffer from the same ills that the world has. Divorce is no stranger to those that are called pastor. Addictions are alive and well with those that are called pastor. Much of the worlds conversations regarding pastors is filled with “stuff” and very little of the special call i saw on the title as a young person.

Many around me do not have my conviction and respect for the title and the person wearing it. Some tell the same off colored stories and use what used to be unacceptable words whether i am in the room or not and they do so knowing that i am not a supporter of such stories and words. It does not cross their mind that i am a pastor, their pastor and that should mean something, so i think.

Society today says my role is to encourage people and their good will. Forget about spiritual care, they can do it themselves. i need not be concerned with imparting the word and practical application for their lives. i can war with the enemy on their part but don’t expect them to do anything to help. As for accountability… well, that’s for me and as for them they don’t need it, want it, or accept it. It’s okay for me to search earnestly for the truth but when i find it don’t expect them to accept or when it gets down to it care about it. Ignorance is bliss and they can’t be held accountable for truth or the word if they don’t know about it, especially by a loving and forgiving God, so just keep it to myself.

No the title and the role of a pastor has been changed, probably forever. my current role is better defined as a shepherd according to Psalm 23. i know… it may be that shepherd is just a different word for the same role, but for me, at this time, it seems more clear and less diluted than Pastor. See the problem as i see it is not that the title pastor has been changed but many of the people holding the title have lost their way and for many reasons. Details to follow. Okay i’ve got to slow down and take this in bite size pieces. There is plenty of time so forgive me for today’s jumbled writings. It is not m intent to downgrade the word pastor any lower than it is. my intent is simply to express my awareness and deep concern for not just the word pastor but more so for the people called pastor.

You can lose your MONEY. You can lose your FRIENDS. You can lose your JOB and you can lose your MARRIAGE…and still recover…but do not lose the one who’s assignment it is to provide you with spiritual care.


Isaiah 43:16-21 This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, The God who summons horses and chariots and armies — they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles:

“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history.” This is what God says, forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. i have made mistakes my entire life and in some cases i thought they were so bad that i couldn’t forgive myself?  Some… i thought were so bad that i went into a depression and i wasn’t able to move past them. Why am i so hard on myself?  What is the appropriate amount of beating myself up before i realize i am worthy of forgiveness?

When the weight of the guilt crushes my spirit it eventually overwhelms me. i simply could not forgive myself for “whatever i think i have failed in.”  In the past i would become depressed, withdrawn.  In the past i have even considered suicide because i couldn’t bear the shame and the disappointment that i thought i read on the faces of those around me.   At that point i felt like a complete and utter failure. My whole focus became consumed with making the situation right.  i would cling to the little bit of hope still lingered deep within. i longed for the Holy Spirit to intervene on my behalf and make it all go away or at least better in some way.  But that usually never happened.  What the Holy Spirit did offer was   self-forgiveness.  At first, it didn’t seem like much of a gift, but what i have learned is that knowing how to forgive myself and how to move on after failure strikes, is a skill worth developing.

“Forgiving myself doesn’t mean i am free from the consequences of my actions.  Yes, there will be consequences, but those consequences don’t have to include feeling guilt, shame and depression.  Guilt, shame, and depression aren’t going to make me stronger, in fact, they weaken me and make it harder for me to recover.

The question comes, but if I forgive myself and act all happy again won’t people think I’m not taking my failure seriously?” “Do i really think the people around me wants met o sit in the corner and cry and blame myself?  Or do i think they’d prefer it if i were resourceful and working daily to improve my situation?

When i fail i am disappointed in myself and i’m disappointed in the outcome of my actions.  But neither of those are permanent.  It doesn’t matter if i fall.  The word says, a righteous man falls seven times, but rises up again. Everyone falls.  It only matters how quickly i get back up and continue the race.

The first thing i need to do is forgive myself.  Give myself the same compassion and understanding i’d give one of my children if they made a decision that had a negative consequence.

i have the opportunity to model for them what true success is, which is learning how to recover after a setback. Being happy and resourceful after a setback doesn’t mean i’m denying responsibility for my actions.  It just means i’m acknowledging the situation and being committed to learn from it.

The secret to forgiving myself is to take responsibility for my actions, but not to let my perceived failure bury me.  When i fail, when i make a mistake, learn from it and move on.  i must stop beating myself up.  i am worthy of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the gift i give myself that acknowledges i am human.  i can’t always prevent failure, but i can always forgive myself for failing.

Isaiah 43:16-21 This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, The God who summons horses and chariots and armies — they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles: “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history.” Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’ — the coyotes and the buzzards — Because I provided water in the desert,    rivers through the sun-baked earth, Drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me.

There it is again… significance because i am a “pep (people)” custom-made to praise Him.

Isaiah 43:19 “ed… See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Red is from the word and black is from Webster’s Dictionary.

See perceive with the eyes, look at, perceive (things) mentally, discern, understand, see the point of an argument.

I – God, Father, Abba, beginning and End

am doing – being the cause of, accomplishing, finishing, completing, to executing an amount of work

a – certain, particular

new thing – unfamiliar or strange, appearing for the first time, now come into knowledge

This is what the first seven words of this verse are saying to me. To some degree it’s sounds like a subtle scolding. Yet more so an encouragement, depending on where i am at mentally, emotional or spiritually as i read it. Regardless of all that there is one thing that stands out for me…. “this is truth.” Let me put it all together as my mind is receiving it.

ed, perceive with your eyes, look at, perceive (things) mentally, discern, understand, I your God, your Father, your Beginning and End am doing, am being the cause of, am accomplishing, am finishing, am completing, a certain, particular new thing, which is unfamiliar or strange, appearing for the first time, now coming into knowledge.

What i have been seeing with my eyes, what i was looking at, the way i was perceiving (things) has been (little) i as in me, myself was doing, i myself was being the cause of, what i myself was accomplishing, finishing, completing and it was not a new thing but actually the same old thing that i have done for much of my life. And… i exchanged the potential for the new because i eliminated the opportunity for coming into knowledge for what i already knew. Thus the same old thing showed up. Without the coming knowledge i could only act on the existing knowledge. Without the significance of God i was left to my own significance. Thank God for His redemption.

Now i must slow down and read this carefully as i am reading the words as written and incorporating my personal translation along with it. The verse goes on to say this, “Now (not tomorrow, next week or sometime in the future) NOW it (not something from the past, but a new thing, your coming knowledge) IT springs up (it isn’t dormant or waiting in the wings, it’s in your face ed) SPRINGS UP; do you not perceive it (ed are you sleeping, are you distracted, are you blind) DO YOU NOT PERCEIVE IT? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

i will close with Isaiah 43:1-4 But now, God’s Message, the God who made ed in the first place, Jacob, the One who got ed started, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you ed.  I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead-end— Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.

Now that’s being significant!!

Shame the Devil!

Posted: April 19, 2012 in Am i There Yet?, Significance
I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance. Pablo Casals
Today i’ pondering some general thoughts regarding significance. my guess is that tomorrow i will wrap up these thoughts and bring some additional resemblance of God’s significance to my life.

i believe that people matter, that i matter.  i believe that the things i do, my hopes and fears – they have significance.  One day, this world will be destroyed, but nevertheless, my life and what i choose to do with it, matters today, and will continue to matter in the future.  i am important!

i believe i am important – my life is important – because God says i am important.  i don’t have to do anything to become significant.  It does not depend on my intelligence, my money, my parents, my class or my country – it depends entirely on God.

After my birth, i began rapidly aging, and some day i will die. Between the processes of birth, ageing, being sick and dying, i have spent much time busily working, eating, and grooming… But what am i to achieve?

There are certainly insecurities, sadness, and sorrow in the journey of life, it does not mean that life is meaningless. Although life may be imperfect, there should still be something meaningful that can console me to continue my life.

Some people find their significance in family – Great emphasis on the continuity of the family. For them, even though the individual may pass away, the fact that the family continues means that there is an ever-lasting significance for their lives.

Other people find their significance in country – Their attentions are on their nation and country. The significance of life is to contribute to the enhancement of national pride or development. Extremely patriotic people think that individuals belong to the nation, and it is only within the context of the nation that an individual’s life has any significance.

Then there are those that find their significance in Mankind – They consider humanity as a whole. The significance of life is on the progress of human society. Only with the progress and civilization of the human race is there a meaning to life. With this desire for all human beings, one should strive for the development of all humanity, and work hard for the benefit of the majority.

However, to place the significance of life on the family, or nation, or the human race is not one that satisfies my thirst for significance. i would be trying to hang on to something because of the fear that my body and mind will degenerate one day. i am quite sure that these are not the real meanings of life? If the significance of life is on the family, for those who do not have any offspring, does it mean that it is meaningless to live? If the significance of life is on the country, from the perspective of history, there were so many highly prosperous countries and civilizations, but where are they now? Then, what about living for the advancement of mankind? Human activities rely on the existence of the earth. Although it may still be a very long time to go, it is inevitable that the earth will come to an end as i know it one day. What is significance of life when the earth ceases to support the human activities? It seems these three significance’s of life adopted by most people will eventually become void.

There is another concept. It’s the concept of “a future in heaven” which has been used by most worldly religions, especially religion with God in the Western countries to explain the significance of life. In these religions, the world where we humans now live, is just an illusion. Human beings that live in this world, believe in God, love God, and abide by His instructions in order to go to Heaven in the future. Some religions say, the end of the world is coming, and those who have no faith in God will be trapped in a hell of eternal suffering; whereas those who believe in the God will get into heaven and enjoy eternal bliss. So it would seem, all the faith, morality and good actions people do is motivated by their desire to prepare for their entry into heaven. But heaven is something for the future. It is impossible to go to heaven while still living as a human being. Therefore, the concept of a heaven is only a belief. In reality, heaven cannot be proven to exist. It seems to me, rather vague to use the existence of something that cannot be proven as one’s purpose for living! It is this writers humble opinion that many people want just enough of God to get to heaven.

“George, she says it’s the truth that matters. We live and die for the chance to maybe tell a little bit of the truth, maybe shame the Devil just a little bit before we go.” ― Mira Grant, Feed

Isaiah 43:19 is my belief regarding my significance when i am not distracted by self. “ed… See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”  Joseph Campbell

It is always good to know where you’re at. To me i could be way off course, in the wrong town, on a completely different page than where i should be and yet for some reason i am okay just knowing where i am. Maybe i’m just confident that i can find my way back and so i use the journey back to learn and therefore it’s beneficial and that makes it okay.

So… that being said i know that i have been distracted with feeling a need for my own significance. Now i can turn my attention to how did i get here? The answer is not hard to see. Prior to construction i was watching at least 30 to 50 minutes a day of what i call “Green Pastures.” These are messages that come from various places that are all keeping me focused this year on one theme and that is loving the Lord my God with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind and with all my strength. Once construction started i did not watch any and in fact we canceled our home church gatherings where we all share regarding these messages. The i decided not to post to the blog for the past five-weeks as well. These post are in part what hold me accountable to spending personal.ntimate, quality time with God every morning. No accountability… no time. i usually love to talk the word with others, but when my focus is anything but the word, all that’s left are empty words. So in short the answer to how i got here is simple, nothing in, nothing out, good men only fail when they do nothing. i failed because i did nothing to succeed. Knowing where i am and how i got here will serve to keep me from returning to this place in hours, days, months and years to come. In closing… “He has shown you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  But to act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”― Anonymous

One more thought…

“Do you know a cure for me?”
Why yes,” he said, “I know a cure for everything. Salt water.”
Salt water?” I asked him.
Yes,” he said, “in one way or the other. Sweat, or tears, or the salt sea.”  ― Karen Blixen, Seven Gothic Tales

i am unable to escape the results of my thoughts. Whatever my present environment may be, i will fall, remain or rise with my thoughts, my vision, my ideal. i will become as small as my controlling desire; as great as my dominant hunger and thirst.

i am unable to escape the results of my thoughts… i can’t tell you how many times i have said, “i have the mind of Christ, my thoughts are established in Him, my steps are ordered by Him.” But the next portion of the quote has a great effect on my thoughts, “whatever my present environment may be,”

At the end of last year i spent a great amount of time learning to remove my judgements of things. Example, there are no good days, no bad days. Since i everything comes from God, goes through God and ends with God, everyday must be good. i also spent time looking at the question of does God need me. i came to the conclusion that no God does not need me but, He desires me. i also thought about the idea of being just a simple creation of God and would that be enough for me. If i never did anything to be remembered for, if nobody knew my name, if there was no great accomplishment or legacy left behind, would i be okay with that. If i truly was… just His creation. The word just causes me pause as i say it. Is there such a thing as, just when it comes to God. “Just” sounds like i am limited or handicapped in being His creation. i spent several months working to remove “me” from the equation and to make Him the “only.” That’s an extrodinary environment to be in.

Then comes March like a roaring lion and i am thrown into moving the Onething Campus. A new environment and just 25 days to get the job done. i now must design 4000 sq. ft of space which will serve us for the next three years. This is right up my alley. I GET TO CREATE! Then the building process begins and at the end of every day i can look on the accomplishments of our labor. The results of a hard days work stand before me to evaluate. Then putting the decorating touches in place that Ann Marie has so wonderfully layed out. More results, more accomplishments! i am in “MY” element as a creative individual. For a week the finishing touches feed my hunger for seeing results and all the while claiming that it must be just right for those who use the campus. The day comes to move in and get ready for the campus to open and when it’s all done i remember standing there at the end of the day, wanting a few silent moments to gaze at the results, to take count of all the accomplishments. It was like being a proud papa.

For many reason i could not get my few moments alone and so i left that place thinking that i would capture my proud moments at another time. That did not happen. It was less than 24 hours before my proud moments were invaded with some dissatisfaction regarding the results from those around me. Hurt… yes. Disappointed… yes. my finest hour was gone and thus the disconnect which i now realize was my desire for significance. i am not usually one who needs a pat on the back and i do not particularly desire nor need recognition or even a thank you, but for some reason this time was different.

i told Ann Marie that when the hairs on my arms ache and every part of my body claims its own pains, when i am as tired as i am from all the hours, when we have given more money, time and effort than we agreed to do and i come to the place where i feel no significance there is something wrong. i had recently learned that blame does not work well for anyone so began looking to myself for what was wrong. It took a week and a half but God made it clear that i had forgotten the lessons regarding my significance. i was no longer for this brief moment willing to step back and be a simple creature of His, and now what? What am i to do now that this task is done? What is there for me to accomplish? Where will my significance come from? my current dominant hunger and thirst!

This morning i was led to Philippians 2:1-4 ed My son if you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Truth be told… all i did was lend a helping hand! No more than the countless others who helped. Oh maybe i spent more hours but every effort counted. Maybe we gave more money, but it wasn’t ours anyway and as we came to the end literally every penny is counting. i close for today with the words of Philippians 2:12-13 What I’m getting at, ed, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve already learned from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give Him the most (significance) pleasure. my dominant hunger and thirst.

i can’t recall exactly when i wrote about this topic before but i know it was not that long ago and yet, here i am again. It is for times like this that i named this blog, me and I Am – subtitle – Recycled. It’s because i knew that i would visit many of the same topics regarding my life and God’s words for me over and over. Not because God isn’t a good teacher or speaker but because i forget. i get distracted and that being said, God did a work in me this week-end… again… and i hope to embrace it more deeply so as to not go back to Egypt again. i found myself back in or at significance. Just as one must ask why would i want to go back to Egypt, i must ask why would i want to go back into my own significance? It’s my mind, will and emotions!

significance… consequence or importance,  a measure of the confidence that can be placed in a result, as not being merely a matter of chance.

For the past four or five weeks i have been relocating the Onething Campus. While we just moved across the street, the construction required was an incredible amount of work. It required many long days and much physical, and mental effort. We finished to some degree on April 1st and everyone moved in and began to resume their own works of ministry. i on the other hand struggled to connect with the new location. It is an incredible location and it is the best environment we have had in the entire six years of doing this. It’s new, it’s fresh, its anointed but non the less i have not been able to connect.

People ask me what i think about it and i share just what i have shared in this post, but i struggled with the words to describe my personal disconnect and i say disconnect with hesitation as that’s not really the word. i did not want to post about this “funk” or a “bad week” i was experiencing. i worked at being grateful for everything God did, in every area of the move. At one point i thought i had figured my problem out when one of the team shared about being grateful and how it was different than giving thanks. It turned out not to be the solution, although great insight and i did make sure that i was more than just thankful, but was giving thanks to God and others as well.

This week-end God spoke to me loud and clear through routine actions. This was our first week-end of rest. No need to go to the campus not ability to motivate myself to do any of the numerous tasks i had though i would tackle while at home… resting. As the television did it’s usual rambling i considered the idea that perhaps i was suffering from depression as the commercial suggested. The symptoms seemed to match but my spirit was not willing to buy into that idea. It’s funny but right now i can not recall where the answer began to present itself but non the less it did and the word was significance. i have been feeling insignificant. Insignificant to God. Insignificant to myself. Insignificant to others.

The word significance became a resounding theme in everything i watched, or listened to. i went back to find my posts where i talked about this before but what i found was more focused on the answer and not so much the problem. In closing let me share these powerful and provocative (serving to provoke; incite, stimulate, irritate, or vex) words… i am unable to escape the results of my thoughts. Whatever my present environment may be, i will fall, remain or rise with my thoughts, my vision, my ideal. i will become as small as my controlling desire; as great as my dominant hunger and thirst.