Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Greetings!

All groups that try to be exclusive have them. Fraternities have secret handshakes. Gangs have the signs of twisted contorted fingers that display who they are. When we know each other we wave. In the south if you are in the country there is the hand on the steering wheel finger raise. Not the middle finger, but either the index finger or a combination of two or three as you pass another. You don’t even have to know the other guy, its just considered common courtesy in the country.

In the past few months I’ve purchased a BMW motorcycle. I rode years ago when I was 19 or 20, I went too fast, wrecked and sold my bike. I bought that bike for cool guy points. But latest purchase was for a number of reasons, good gas mileage with stupid high fuel prices, an outlet for forgetting whiny soldiers, and just kind of longing to be a part of a community of riders. One of my first days riding I noticed another bike approaching and the oddest thing happened. As he drove by, and I had no idea who he was, he waved. Now it wasn’t an elbow up awkward sign, but a hand extended toward the ground at about a 45 degree angle. It was real casual. I returned the greeting.

I realized that I had become a part of a community. We had something in common, two wheels, wind in the face, the world around us not dampened by steel, glass and insulation. The wave is subtle, yet powerful. It’s an acknowledgement of the other guy saying, “Hey dude you are part of my world, you are in my community, my club.” It was so cool. Now I look for other riders to give the sign to. I see another single headlight approach, waiting for just the right moment, casually extend my clutch hand down and point at the ground. They always return the salute. I love it.

The church should be more like that. I meet guys on Ducati’s, Harley’s, Moto Guzzi’s, other Beemers, Triumphs, even rice rockets, it doesn’t matter. If you are in the wind the sign does down. The church misses that subtle identification and acknowledgement of each other’s value. We are the body of Christ. We have so much in common, the love of a good God, the great gift of forgiveness, the calling to something greater than our selves and not to mention our eternal destiny. Maybe we can learn from a bunch of idiots balancing on two wheels about the power of affirmation in a simple gesture.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Drink it in!

As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer.[1] Luke 5:16

As often as possible, Jesus went to be alone. Ministry is exhausting. Everyone wants something from you. Now think about it for a second, Jesus was and is God. When He walked this earth filled with God’s power, He healed, comforted, waged war against the Devil and the religious establishment. He loved, and lavished Himself on others. He also knew that three years after He began His ministry he’d be betrayed and tortured and maligned and killed in the most painful way we can imagine. As I think of it I am amazed, humbled, and disgusted with my complaining. Jesus would withdraw, when He had time, to pray and seek solitude. As someone in ministry I cannot express how valuable my time of solitude is. Just to be still is so glorious sometimes. I got up this morning and headed out to the woods for a run as I do at least once a week. It was a beautiful SC morning. Spring is coming, a bit chilly but wow what a morning. The woods are alive now. Birds are declaring the start of the day, squirrels are dashing about here and there. The forest here is so quiet too. The long leaf pine needles thatch a shag carpet every where. Its soft and quiet and it amplifies all the sounds around you, the air droning through the pine boughs, the distant sounds of 100’s of song birds it was glorious. In the distance though, I could hear the rifles at FT Jackson. It reminded me of all the soldiers that are there training, all the ones who I minister to. As I walked I began to think of how tired I get just listening to the same story over and over again. But then God reminded me of why I was in the woods. I looked up through those trees and heard Him say, “Behold, My Glory!” That was it and that was all I needed. In the midst of God’s Creation I heard Him speak, “Behold, my glory”. I stopped dead in my tracks, drank every precious second in of God making Himself known to me. I stopped, because those moments are fleeting and we need them. Because after coming out of the woods it’s back to the Matrix, back to the world of cell phones blaring and emails and the day to day grind. But just to behold the glory of God, to sense His power, His approval, His anointing was more than enough for today.
[1]Peterson, E. H. (2002). The Message : The Bible in contemporary language (Lk 5:16). Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Final Training


Sorry for the delay in posting. I've been out in the field for 5 days hanging out with soldiers. It all started last Saturday with a 9 mile road march that was relentlessly attacked by our OP FOR (opposition forces). Then about 16 hours later I road marched another 10 miles with another company. It seems I forgot that I'm 41 years old and that rucking almost 20 miles in less than 24 hours would do horrible things to my feet and back. But its all good to go. Our young soldiers performed well in their final exercise before graduation. They showed initiative and adapted to many different situations that they will inevitably face in the combat zone. I'm awefully proud of our soldiers and our cadre who trained them. Keep praying for them. I've got one more cycle of training till I come home. I'm ready! Its time for the Chaplain to graduate finally after 2 years here. Here's a cool picture I took while we were out on Victory Forge.

The songs of life- Thanks to mom

My home was filled with music and people growing up. Mom loved music and can play an assortment of instruments but her favorites are th...