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Showing posts from August, 2017

Scripture Window Part 5

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Rewind and review ~ Scripture is like a window...we gaze through and see beyond to an ancient world and we our world still today and we can even see our own reflection.  Scriptural window has four window panes (head, heart, soul, and story).  The head window pane is one that asks good questions (lots of questions) and offers our own insights.

But Scripture isn't just some head trip or intellectual exercise.  One of the places the Enlightenment led us on a rabbit chase is thinking that we could proof Scripture.  That if we just rationally and reasonably held Scripture, it would all make sense at some point.  Most stories don't work on one level, and that is certainly true of Scripture.  So, we need the second window pane, the one of heart.

While for our Jewish ancestors, the heart was the seat of reason and where all important decisions were made; in the world today, heart is the seat of emotions.  Emotions are important.  We need to listen and learn from our emotions.  I was …

Scripture Window Part 4

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As we look at the four window panes of Scripture (head, heart, soul, and story); we zoom in on each individually to listen for the uniqueness and necessity it contributes.  Once we explore how head, heart, soul, and story have an important voice to add, then we can listen to the collaborative chorus, the bigger, whole picture.  Starting with the head...our intellect.  Each word of Scripture we read/hear is filtered through our experiences and awakens a response.  Each word of Scripture enters in, might touch a nerve or cause a synapses to stir.  Take for example one of my favorite passages of Scripture, Exodus 3:

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed.  Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why…

Scripture Window Part 3

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The big, bulky book landed with a thud on the pulpit.
The person standing there
Somber
Serious
Said with all the enthusiasm of going to the dentist,
"Hear now the word of God."
The verses tumbled from the raised stage.
Softly spoken.
With little variation in pitch.

What if...these words were actually windows and the one reading was like a child on April Fools Day shouting, "Come and see the monkey out in the yard."  Unable to hold back the laughter.

What if...there words were actually windows and the one reading was like a person so passionate about God's presence that she could not wait to tell others.

What if...there words were actually windows into our heads...hearts...souls...and the story of our very lives.

Words that shine a light brightly on our blessedness and brokenness.  Our boneheadedness and moments we actually share God's grace in amazing and abundant ways.

What if we listened to these words on the edge of our pews?

What do you mean King Davi…

Scripture Windows Part 2

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Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.  Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart.  Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.  Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Scripture isn't always a clear window.  It is one that has the smudges and fingerprints of those who have sought to share these words over time.  And when we step close, we add our own DNA to these words as they move through the colander of our context.  One of my favorite images of how to engage Scripture is how we stand before a stained glass window.

Just as a stained reveals different colors in different times of day.  Just as colors of the glass can cast kaleidoscope of colors onto the ground…

Scripture Windows

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 Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.  Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart.  Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.  Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead,  and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.  Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Take a moment and look out the nearest window.  What do you see?  Maybe trees or grass.  Maybe people passing by.  Maybe a brilliant brilliant blue sky or ominous gray clouds congregating with rain drops splattering and splashing.

Step closer to the window...do you see a slight reflection of yourself staring back?  Maybe as you've gotten closer you've seen a detail you missed before.  A dragonfly whizzing past or a tiny ant scurrying across the ground or a bird out on the …

Sabbath Prayer Part Seven

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Because seven is a sacred number...it seemed appropriate to wrap up this series of posts with that number.  I hope you will return to the Jewish Sabbath Prayer as your heart and soul cries out for its wisdom.  For now, I wanted to offer my own words in response to praying this prayer for the past few weeks.


God of sunlight streaming in through the stained-glass window of my life,
Help me notice the kaleidoscope of colors in my life.
For the passion of red...to share the love with family, friends, and even vulnerably with those I see as enemy.
For the energy of orange...that wakes me up and gets me up out of bed.  The work to do this day that you have made.
For the mellow of yellow...that invites me to rest and that saving the world is a job already taken by someone else...help me trust in you.
For the newness of green...places of growth...even ones that stretch me beyond my comfort zone.
For the hope that is blue...seeing the spaces and places that are not finished and do not fully r…

Sabbath Prayer Part 6

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Days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless among miracles.  Fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing.  Let there be moments when your Presence, like lightning illumines the darkness in which we walk.  Help us see, wherever we gaze that the bush burns, unconsumed.  And we, clay touched by God will reach out for holiness and exclaim in wonder, How filled with awe is this place. Prayer from Jewish Sabbath Prayer Book 

How filled with awe is the place.
Look around where you are reading this right now.  What do you see?  
I'm at my kitchen table where we eat dinner.  Where laughter is soaked into the table as well as that great family conversation about homework as well as moments of silence.
I see my kitchen where meals are made...sometimes slow and other times heated quickly in the microwave.
I see my wife working at her computer...a reality of our modern world.
I see my children busy getting ready for school.
I see my dog whose unconditional love and desire to …

Sabbath Prayer Part 5

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Days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless among miracles.  Fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing.  Let there be moments when your Presence, like lightning illumines the darkness in which we walk.  Help us see, wherever we gaze that the bush burns, unconsumed.  And we, clay touched by God will reach out for holiness and exclaim in wonder, How filled with awe is this place. Prayer from Jewish Sabbath Prayer Book 

And we like clay touched by God...

God's DNA etched upon our lives.
God's fingerprints pressed upon our hearts.
God's presence woven like a thread into the fabric of this day.
God's colorful creation upon the canvas of life we all paint and seek to create.

The prayer is an echo of Genesis 2....where God sinks God's fingers into the soil to craft and create the first human.  It is good to note that the word in Hebrew is the generic, non-gender specific for human...not just "man".  As a matter of fact the word human comes fr…

Sabbath Prayer Part 4

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Days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless among miracles.  Fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing.  Let there be moments when your Presence, like lightning illumines the darkness in which we walk.  Help us see, wherever we gaze that the bush burns, unconsumed.  And we, clay touched by God will reach out for holiness and exclaim in wonder, How filled with awe is this place. Prayer from Jewish Sabbath Prayer Book 

So far we have sought to step into this prayer....let it settle and seep into our soul...sing to our hearts and speak to our lives.
Do you have a favorite word or turn of phrase so far as we've returned to it?
Have there been moments when you've glimpsed the grace of God, like a lightning bolt illumines the night sky?
Have there been moments you've sensed the sacred in the ordinary this past week?
This prayer connected with another beautiful set, series of words I recently ran across.  It is from a song by Cloud Cult, entitled: Through the …

Sabbath Prayer part 3

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Days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless among miracles.  Fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing.  Let there be moments when your Presence, like lightning illumines the darkness in which we walk.  Help us see, wherever we gaze that the bush burns, unconsumed.  And we, clay touched by God will reach out for holiness and exclaim in wonder, How filled with awe is this place. Prayer from Jewish Sabbath Prayer Book 

I have been praying this prayer all week...and finding it helpful.  So often, we rush through a prayer like Kleenex, thinking a prayer should be one and one.  But maybe a meaningful, prayer that has depth can be returned to time and time again.  Prayers like the one above is like a stream, each time I step into it, let its words rummage and roam around my life, something is different.  Prayers like the one above is like a stained glass window that is always changing with the light that streams through it.

So, I love the line about the bush burning unc…

Sabbath Prayer part 2

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Days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless among miracles.  Fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing.  Let there be moments when your Presence, like lightning illumines the darkness in which we walk.  Help us see, wherever we gaze that the bush burns, unconsumed.  And we, clay touched by God will reach out for holiness and exclaim in wonder, How filled with awe is this place. Prayer from Jewish Sabbath Prayer Book

So, we dove into and dwelt in the first sentence in the last post.  Did you have some time to stop...breathe...and be in the last few days?  Did you lay out your days (good/bad/ugly) alongside God's loving presence?  
If we think that for our eyes to see or minds to know it is only about what we will discover in a book or seminar or TED talk... If we think that for our eyes to see and minds to know we need to find someone who is smarter than we are and sit at the feet of the master... If we think...to quote one of my favorite authors...we can think our …

Sabbath Prayer part 1

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Days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless among miracles.  Fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing.  Let there be moments when your Presence, like lightning, illumines the darkness in which we walk.  Help us see, wherever we gaze that the bush burns, unconsumed.  And we, clay touched by God will reach out for holiness and exclaim in wonder, "How filled with awe is this place."    Prayer from Jewish Sabbath Prayer Book

There are moments that I can feel like I am sleepwalking through the wonder of this world.  There are moments when the din of the twenty-four hour news cycle diminishes and distorts my ability to notice the Good News that God is here...right here...and also right by you as you are reading this post.  It is easy for me to get caught in the vicious cycle of my own to-do list that I miss moments when God is suggesting I stop.  Stop trying to be super spiritual answer man...although I really think the outfit for that super hero/heroine would…

Vacation...

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While I am with my family resting...enjoy another of my favorite vacation memes.

And just because this one is hilarious...


And this one...


And this joke...

A preacher was completing a temperance sermon. With great expression he said, "If I had all the beer in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river!" The congregation nodded their approval. With even greater emphasis he added, "And if I had all the wine in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river, too!" The people clapped and were saying "Amen." And then finally, he concluded, "And if I had all the whiskey in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river!" As he sat down, the song leader then stood up quite cautiously and announced, "For our closing song, let us sing Hymn #365: "Shall We Gather at the River."

Grace and peace!!

Vacation...

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While I am with my family resting...enjoy one of my favorite vacation memes.

And this one...


And this one...


Grace and peace!!