Sunday, September 21, 2008

1 minute to make a difference

I ran into a LTC (LT Colonel) today at my unit and we really hit it off. She's a nurse and looking for a home at our unit. After speaking with her a few minutes it became gloriously obvious that she was a follower of the "Way" as many Christians were called in the early days of the church. She had a right side patch (meaning combat deployed) so instantly she carried with her credibility. She shared with me how some of her family members were missionaries to France of all places. Upon finishing our day at Battle Assembly, taking care of soldiers, going to meetings, checking the block I saw her again in the hallway near the bookshelf that SGT Robinson (my chaplain assistant) has put together. She began to tell me of a ministry that is devoted entirely to prayer for the city of Baghdad. This ministry began right around the surge back in 2007. The word prayer is used 139 times in the Bible. The word "pray" is used another 195 times. I suspect a word that is used more than 300 times in God's word is probably pretty important. Verses like psalm 5:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Mark 1:35, and many others stress not only the importance of prayer, but also the effectiveness of that prayer.

I logged on to and signed up to take part for 1 minute a day to pray for Baghdad. Many of us in the military have a vested interest in the peace of Baghdad. I have friends there right now.

Many of you may have asked, "What can I do to help?"

Well its fairly simple....pray. If you sign up the team from Baghdad Prayer Patrol will send you a 1 minute prayer for a section of Baghdad. Here is today's prayer:

Scripture: “And it will come about after this, That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.” -Joel 2:28

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are worthy of all glory and honor and praise. There is no other God besides You, and one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that You alone are God.

Bullets and rockets are not enough to subdue the wicked, so we look to You. I bring Your attention, Lord, to the main troublemakers in Baghdad, and You know who they are.

I want to target one of them in prayer right now, and ask that tonight and every night this week You would disturb his sleep with dreams and visions he cannot forget. Speak to his heart and convict him of the wrong he has been doing. Break down the hardness that violence has forged in his heart, and give him a fresh new outlook.

Give him no rest Lord, until he turns from his wickedness, and accepts a better way. Birth a new hope in his heart and give him the grace to let go of the past and lay down his violent ways. Tame the troublemaker Lord, and make him a man of peace. In Jesus name, amen.

One striking thing about this and don't let this slip by, how many times have you or I for that matter made it a priority of each day to pray for our enemies, to pray that they would indeed come to know a better "Way".

Take a moment and lift those who would persecute us up in prayer today and take a moment to check the Baghdad Prayer Patrol and pray for the peace of that city.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

September 17th Podcast

After a two week absence the guys are back and live from Cleveland with special guest Brent Sears and issues like noodling, community, and shimmying up pine trees.

Listen Now.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stained Glass, Wood Pews, and Deep Roots

When you walk in the building a real sense of "You probably should be quiet in here" comes over you. I remember as a kid hating that, little kids never want to be quiet, they never want to sit still, they certainly don't think reading from a prayer book is nearly as cool as playing with a G.I. Joe. I'm speaking of the church building of my childhood, Trinity Episcopal Church in Statesville, N.C.

This past weekend I attended the 150 year anniversary of that church. My former priests came back to visit, Clay Turner and Joel Keys were both men that modeled much of what i wanted to be in life. Clay and Joel both birthed in me a love for fly fishing. I took it up late in life but remember well seeing them heading off to the mountains with their rods and wicker creels hoping someday that would be me.

I remember as those men administered communion, "The body of Christ, The Cup of Salvation". I remember looking up from those deep, rich brown pews high to the cathedral ceilings in the center of the church to the stained glass window of a triumphant resurrected Jesus. But I also remember a gentle nudge to follow this very wild God in the way that they had. I remember their vestments and "Holy" cloths. I remember how kind those men were and how I wanted to be near them and listen to them.
I suppose my vocation as a Chaplain and Pastor was very much birthed by Jesus using those two guys in my life as a little boy.

I remember that it didn't make that much of an impression on me then.

But add 40 years of life, death, war, joy, encounters with God, blessing, pain, struggle, marriage, children, successes and failures and it leads to a renewed view of the inside of that building. Yes the building is wood and brick and glass, but as I look back I see how God was moving me along in those years where I had so many questions unanswered.

I sat there this past Sunday and heard the current Bishop, and African American man full of passion break open God's Word from John 12:31-34. He spoke of the heritage of that church that in 1968 at the height of the Civil Rights movement when the denomination I currently align with sat on the sidelines of the hatred and the violence. In the middle of the south not 65 miles from the Woolworth's in Greensboro NC, where a young black man refused to get up from his place at the lunch counter, in the same year when Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were murdered, when it would have been easy to sit it out, two small churches did something amazing. Trinity Episcopal a white church and Holy Cross Episcopal Mission a black church decided to combine congregations. In the midst of all that mess, Jesus was lifted up and men and women of different colors came together to worship him.

I sat and listened to that story with my mouth open, because in all my years I had never heard it. I am so glad it was told again. Bishop Curry spoke baldy and loudly and something happened in that church that I had never heard, spontaneous applause! That just doesn't happen in the reverent atmosphere of a liturgical church. It was inspiring. Jesus was present and he was drawing all men unto Himself.

I left there proud that my mom and dad joined that church when I was a child. And even though I wasted many years chasing the world and being unappreciative of my spiritual heritage, I have been renewed this week and for all intents and purposes I am better for having spent my Sunday morning among those pews, and stained glass and getting a new look again at my deep roots

Thursday, September 04, 2008

September 3rd Podcast

Shout outs galore! Opening of deer season, geese, the wilderness and other musings by Brad and Jeremy.

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...