Monthly Archives: April 2013

More than enough

I am in the thick of a 30 days reading plan to go through the gospels. My phone makes these things much easier to accomplish & rather annoyingly at times, much more difficult to avoid.

Last week when I read through the feeding of the five thousand, a story almost everyone knows, something jumped out at me that I had not previously thought of. So I decided I should share that, because well, that is apparently what I now do, you know, share things that I think.

The feeding of the five thousand, there are so many lessons to be learned from this. There is a beautiful picture of the power of God, an amazing miracle from Jesus, his testing the reactions of his friends. What came to me today though is that it is an amazing example of how what could not possibly be enough from a human perspective, was more than enough.

My meaning is based on a question I have had & I’m sure many others, how can there be enough God to go around for each of us?

From a human perspective, there can’t possibly be enough God, just like there was no way they could feed five thousand+ people with 5 loaves of bread & 2 fish.

From a God perspective, not only was there more than enough for everyone, 5000 men, plus women & children (if the church was anything then like it is today then we are probably more realistically saying it was the feeding of 20,000 or more!).  Not only was there more than enough for everyone there were 12 baskets left over. They had more left over than they had to begin with.

There is more than enough God for you, me & everyone & there will still be more left over than we thought there was to begin with. I believe there is significance in the number of baskets being 12 too. There were 12 disciples & God is saying to the teachers of this world, give everything of yourself & I will have more of you left waiting than you had to begin with. Also there were the 12 nations of Israel, God was also showing in that that there is enough of the bread of life for the entire nation, the entire world. The message is not so much in the feeding of the people the food that disappears, but in the eternal, the bread of life.

The primary lesson in this, is that we need not worry about troubling God for some of his love & attention. While it is beyond our human comprehension, it is clear to me that there is more than enough of God for each of us, He can give his complete, fully present self to me & still have His complete self available for you & you & everyone in the world. Isn’t an infinite God, beyond human comprehension & description a truly wonderful thing?

 

 

John 6:1-13

The Feeding of the Five Thousand

6:1 After this1 Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (also called the Sea of Tiberias).2 6:2 A large crowd was following him because they were observing the miraculous signs he was performing on the sick. 6:3 So Jesus went on up the mountainside3and sat down there with his disciples. 6:4 (Now the Jewish feast of the Passover4 was near.)5 6:5 Then Jesus, when he looked up6 and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread so that these people may eat?” 6:6 (Now Jesus7 said this to test him, for he knew what he was going to do.)8 6:7 Philip replied,9 “Two hundred silver coins worth10 of bread would not be enough for them, for each one to get a little.” 6:8 One of Jesus’ disciples,11 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 6:9 “Here is a boy who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what good12 are these for so many people?”

6:10 Jesus said, “Have13 the people sit down.” (Now there was a lot of grass in that place.)14 So the men15 sat down, about five thousand in number. 6:11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed the bread to those who were seated. He then did the same with the fish,16 as much as they wanted. 6:12 When they were all satisfied, Jesus17 said to his disciples, “Gather up the broken pieces that are left over, so that nothing is wasted.” 6:13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces from the five barley loaves18 left over by the people who had eaten.

 

 

 

Just Another Lunch Time

Perfumed aroma fills the air
Children run and play
Laughing the giggle of the free
Strangers try not to exchange
Flirtatious glances

Conversation is avoided
Should it not be welcomed?
Squirrels search for food
Oblivious to their company
Overly tamed by the free meals on offer

Motionless stream, lacking in life
Magnificent tree, so much older than me
Helpers rip out the old to prepare for the new
Swings and slides, giggles again
Life exploding, everywhere you look

Jungle of herbs, so delicious in scent
Miniature waterfall, tranquil and captivating
Giant fish in a tiny pond
It is education, it is a sanctuary
It is a man made wilderness

It is a diet coke & a cherry pie
It is just another lunch time

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Tiredness flows through me

Tiredness flows through me

The desire to move forward lost

Sitting on the precipice

Predicting a slump

Eyes on the prize

No slumps allowed

Press on & move forward

If the effort is too great

Take a small step today

Shoot for a giant leap tomorrow

Slow & steady, progress continues

 

 

Today I am tired, I have felt it coming for a while with so much going on in life & in my mind.

Writing I love, but it feels like an effort today, to visit the list of ideas. Promises I’ve made to myself about things I want to write about, to explore my mind with.

Time seems to be flying right now, never enough down time to do the things I want to do. Oh well, I’m going on vacation soon. No laptop but I’ll be taking a pen & a camera.

Lost in Utopia

Cosmic energy flows through space

Supernova decorating the horizon

Vast emptiness of peace

Blurring the boundaries of pleasure and pain

Lost in utopia

Then, as quickly as it began

Seemingly like a wormhole back to the beginning

It is over, like it never began

But it did & even though everything is the same

Nothing is the same

 

 

 

Germanfest

Now for something completely different. We went to Germanfest in Muenster, TX yesterday. The main draw for me was the bicycle rally. I have been intending to do this ride for several years but for one reason or another have not made it. This year I decided to make to a priority, partly as a way to motivate me to get training & partly because I love cycling & if I get into it early in the year it makes riding in the Texas summer much more tolerable.

They have 3 courses available, 100, 65 & 35Km, I assume they put it in Km because it’s Germanfest & it makes it look more European. Funny thing is, even though I am a euro & fully versed in metric even in England we still measured long distances in miles. So for those of us who speak miles, there were a 63, 40 & 22 mile course available, this will be the last Km reference of the day.

I chose to do the 40 mile route, long enough to make the drive worthwhile but not so long that it would kill me (I hoped). With it being my first organized ride of the year that seemed perfect & it was. The ride was excellent, the course beautiful, its not often that I say that about north Texas, but the rolling hills, green fields, cows, horses & barns made for a spectacular backdrop. A lot of the roads were tree lined & wildflowers were in full bloom on the side of the route.

The downside of rolling hills when you are cycling it that you have to go up & down them. There was one stretch of road, about 8 miles long, that was like a bicycle roller-coaster  It seemed like every time you crested a hill you would be heading back down, hoping to build up enough of a head of steam not to have to work too hard on the next hill. The hills were good riding hills, not so steep that you were ruined at the top, but you knew you had been riding when you got up there. Some I crawled up, others I really attacked, remembering how much fun it can be really going for it. It is on the hills when you discover what kind of rider you are, maybe even what kind of man you are. Do you back down from the challenge or do you embrace it full on & go for it. Yesterday, for the most part, I went for it.

I was pretty tired after the ride & still was this morning. No regrets at all though. I love these ride, they are not races, just community events. They are usually hosted by small towns. The people hosting are so helpful & friendly, the rest stops every 10 miles or so are always so welcoming. The cyclists are also a great breed, always looking out for each other, keeping an eye out for vehicles or stopping to make sure someone with a puncture has what they need to get it fixed. They really are great events to take part in, I am looking forward to doing as many as possible this year.

After the ride we went into the Germanfest itself. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, it was fun, but I probably would have been more into it if I had not just ridden 40 miles on a bike. The festival was pretty much your average county fair with a German theme. Lots of places to buy overprices junk, food tents, beer & some bands & on the other side of the road some carnival rides. To be fair the food was pretty good, although we didn’t eat any of the German food, my wife & I shared a gyro which was probably the best I’ve ever eaten, I also had a hotdog from the boy scouts, hey it was for a good cause.. After we ate we watched some traditional German folk dance, wandered around for a while, did some people watching. The crowd was a wonderfully eclectic mix of cyclists, bikers, country folk & visitors from the city. All in all it was a very enjoyable day.

 

 

Complete Surrender

This has to be one of my most procrastinated posts yet. Usually when I have an idea of something to write on it just falls out on the paper (or screen). Sometimes if I don’t have time I’ll put the idea in a folder for later but most of the time my blog is an outpouring in a moment.

This started with something that I wrote in my career change post, which I then removed & made into another post. For whatever reason I didn’t post it & now I have been delaying revisiting, realizing that I have been avoiding it I am pressing on because if I don’t it will begin a descent that I am not willing to go on anymore. So here today at lunchtime I re-read, re-worked & added to the original post. The post was originally called ministry, which is a word that to me implies a profession, as you will see I realized that this was more a way of life thing than a profession, hence the changed title, reading this blog on The River walk entry during this process helped with the perception (& title) change.

The other week I thought I was feeling a vaguely familiar call, a call to completely dedicate my life to God & somehow find a way to enter into full time ministry. The week after I heard nothing but how I am not good enough, how the words I use when I’m frustrated in the car speak to how I simply don’t have the character for such a calling. If what I believe is true, if what I have been reading is true, then ever since a thought that can only have come from God appeared & I acknowledged it, I have been under attack from the devil. It has took all week for me to fully acknowledge this.

Which is rather scary, if I am under attacked for a possible call to ministry, then does that mean it really was God? Am I really supposed to somehow try to move towards that? The thought of it both excites & terrifies me, I would love the work, yet can’t think what I might have to offer, let alone what I would have to offer a church or ministry that would justify them compensating me at a level that would not require me to shatter my family’s life. I’m not even sure that I want to work for a church, I have a feeling that it would ruin a lot of nice illusions that I would rather keep. I don’t know, I just don’t know.

That is where I was leading upto Sunday. After a great day on Saturday serving complete strangers doing repairs in a trailer park with my church’s men’s ministry, I was feeling good about life, I did my usual serving efforts on Sunday service & then, by the end of the sermon I was a blubbering wreck. You see, what has been on my heart recently is that the thought of working another 30 years in the freight industry is just unimaginable to me today. I’m fine with plodding through for right now, but really, to be doing this still when I’m in my 40s, or 50s or 60s? Please tell me that won’t happen! It seems that God agrees. So on Sunday I built a bridge & got over myself & I visited the prayer team, then I spent time talking to my wife about things, then I emailed my mens group & asked for their prayers.

Do you know what I received? Love and acceptance from a group of people who see me as significant enough to pray for & care for. I can’t express how much that means to me, I really can’t. You see, for all the healing that has gone on in my life, there is apparently still more to be done. I was at a dead end because I was trying to figure things out by myself, not allowing anyone in & not wanting to bother them with my needs. As ridiculous as that may seem, that is one of the great challenges that come out of my insecurities.

So onto the future. A call to full time ministry? I believe that is what has happened, however, here is the kicker, I am not sure, in fact I am pretty sure, it is not a call to professional ministry. Maybe one day that is where I will be lead, I have no expectations of that, but time will tell. I think the call I was receiving was a call to complete surrender. Something that I have heard for years but if I am honest, never been able to accomplish. You see, while my beliefs are full time, the fruits of my beliefs have been less than that. The thing with complete surrender, with not just allowing Jesus in the car, but letting him drive & me sitting in the back seat, is that it is a completely new way of life. It is not 10 minutes a day reading or praying & a few hours on a weekend in worship & fellowship. It is full time. My ministry is my life, my life needs to be a reflection of Jesus at all times, at home, at work, at play, even driving!

What has happened after I reached out to the people that God has placed in my life has been incredible. I felt an amazing peace that entire week. I also started to see that this year has truly been an explosion of long term prayers being answered. Prayers asking for my true identity to be revealed, for me to be molded into who God wants me to be, not the mess I used to be. For continued & deeper healing from the wounds of my past. Prayers for friendships.  On & on.

The reason why I had to ask for help before I could see these things? I needed to experience that I am not a lone voice in the wilderness. I believed that isolation & alone is who I am at my core, part of my defective nature. I am not alone, I am loved, I am cherished & I am at my best in community & fellowship. Sharing all of who I am with those who love me & need me to be me, to be wholly & unashamedly me.

Now, where does this leave me with my career funk? I think it is Gods way of telling me that it is time to stop asking my job to do what God can only do & start bringing my identity, my true self, the me that God sees, into my job. Does that mean I will be doing the same thing forever? Probably not, does that mean I have the answers? Not at all. Does it mean I will never have a bad day or lose it again? No.

Does it mean that I have understood correctly, again I really don’t know. I don’t know what the future holds, all I know is that it is time for a career change, but not at an environmental or behavioral level, not a capability or belief level, but at a God spoken identity level. My ministry, regardless of my vocation, needs to be based around being the true me at all times & allowing the love of Christ to be expressed through that.

If you have 37 minutes to spare, I cannot recommend this sermon enough, it was a great message, it was not until the end that I realized that I had been feeling like my (18 year) career was oppressing me. It was at that moment that I knew I couldn’t go on the same anymore. It was through that moment that God told me I didn’t have to, even if I am in the same place forever, it will be forever changed because of that Sunday.

 

Some of what I need to be conscious of today is not being in such a hurry for God to fix me & move me onto whatever the next step in His plan for me is. I need to enjoy the journey, I need to stop wanting to do more out of my need to feel significant, I am significant, He is not going to allow me to do more until I am doing it for Him, not for the brokenness that only He can fix. I need to celebrate in my blessings more, start really realizing all that I have in life. If my life is my ministry, it does it a great disservice to be down on something that is so wonderful.

Maybe the upside of taking so long over this post is that I can also share the following week’s message. One of my favorite teachers was visiting, it is an incredible message, but also for me, served like a review of what has been done since 2004 & a reminder to stay connected to the true source .

 

 

 

 

After writing all this earlier today, I then spend the afternoon questioning if I should post this, if I am being too open with the inside of my mind, if my continuous rambling about my faith will drive me & others crazy. I wonder if I am over thinking this whole thing. Should I just get on with life & not worry about things so much, learn how to be satisfied? How has my blog become the gateway to not only thinking so much, but my faith growing so much? The more I think, the more questions I have, the more questions I have the more I am confused, which in turn causes me to think (vicious cycle). The more I discover who I truly am, the more I now have to learn how to live life in this world as the real me, not the me who learnt how to survive in this world with coping mechanisms.

Who am I today even? I am one who will pray for anyone. I am one who now when he blows it in frustration, recognizes it & seeks help from God to change, standing up to the issue to take its power, instead of throwing extra fuel on the fire. I am one who earlier this year admitted to God that I am ok with being thought of as a little strange if it means I get some extra Holy Spirit in me. I am slowly, but surely, beginning to be the me that I was created to be, and that is a good thing.

I think something from the other morning summed me up perfectly. I am the one who was reading the Bible at his desk while listening to Appetite for Destruction (not a thought out moment, it just happened naturally), hoping that when my emails finally stopped downloading my work day would not start with a kick to the proverbial nuts. Guns N Roses & Jesus, that right there, for all its wonderful contention is as good a word picture of me that I can give today.

 

 

Can’t Watch the News

As the chaos of the world moves closer & closer to home

I had no choice but to reengage & find out what was going on

As my heart breaks & my soul bleeds

I fear for my child & the world she is going to have to live in

Such unspeakable horrors

Everyday, in every country

It is enough to make you want to slump

Hide in as much protection as you can muster

Maybe the doomsdayers are onto something

Yet here I am, trying to be more

Struggling to find a place of higher consciousness

Hoping to make even a small impact

To bring some little beauty into such darkness

It would be so easy, so comfortable

To lose myself once again into myself

Open the bottle, plug back into the fantasy

Let the world pass me by

Leave the fight for light to someone who is less sensitive

Hole up & protect me & mine, be like everyone else

But I cannot, because I know there is more & I simply must have more

Either what I believe is true, or I need medication