Archive for September, 2009

What the spiritual life really is

September 30, 2009

“Then we discover what the spiritual life really is. It is not a matter of doing one good thing rather than another, of praying in one way rather than in another. It is not a matter of any special psychological effect in our own soul. It is the silence of our whole being in compunction and adoration before God, in the habitual realization that He is everything and we are nothing, that He is the Center to which all things tend, and to Whom all our actions must be directed. That our life and strength proceed from Him, that both in life and in death we depend entirely on Him, that the whole course of our life is foreknown by Him and falls into the plan of His wise and merciful Providence; that it is absurd to live as though without Him, for ourselves, by ourselves; that all our plans and spiritual ambitions are useless unless they come from Him and that, in the end, the only thing that matters is His glory.” -Thomas Merton

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Ministry of presence

September 28, 2009

“More and more the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be a part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes and hugs that you do not simply like them, but you truly love them”. – Henri Nouwen

David Livingstone’s one regret

September 26, 2009

“I often ponder my missionary career and in the consideration of my  many imperfections not a single pang of regret arises in view of my conduct except I did not devote a special portion of time to play with my children.  Generally, I was so exhausted by evening there was no energy for fun left.  My children soon sprang up and left me conscious I had none to play with.”- David Livingstone, Journal  

Oh, The Temptation

September 18, 2009

This is too good. I know the feeling all too well.

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Somebody To Love

September 15, 2009

I’m convinced that the number one need in any life is to be loved and to love. It’s the way we’re made.

I was reminded of that again today as I heard “Somebody To Love” by Queen. I’d never read the lyrics before.

Here they are.

Can anybody find me somebody to love?
Each morning I get up I die a little
Can barely stand on my feet
Take a look in the mirror and cry
Lord what you’re doing to me
I have spent all my years in believing you
But I just can’t get no relief, Lord!
Somebody, somebody
Can anybody find me somebody to love?

I work hard every day of my life
I work till I ache my bones
At the end I take home my hard earned pay all on my own –
I get down on my knees
And I start to pray
Till the tears run down from my eyes
Lord – somebody – somebody
Can anybody find me – somebody to love?

(He works hard)

Everyday – I try and I try and I try –
But everybody wants to put me down
They say I’m goin’ crazy
They say I got a lot of water in my brain
Got no common sense
I got nobody left to believe
Yeah – yeah yeah yeah

Oh Lord
Somebody – somebody
Can anybody find me somebody to love?

Got no feel, I got no rhythm
I just keep losing my beat
I’m ok, I’m alright
Ain’t gonna face no defeat
I just gotta get out of this prison cell
Someday I’m gonna be free, Lord!

Find me somebody to love
Can anybody find me somebody to love?

Let Mercy Lead

September 13, 2009

We went on a family road trip a couple of weekends back. Great time with my wife’s Sister and her family. We hit the World of Coca Cola in Atl, and a Braves game Sat. afternoon. Great seats in the shade, and the Braves pulled it out against the Phils in the bottom of the ninth.

Anyway, the travel time to downtown Atlanta was interesting. K and I were driving with 4 kids and their iPods. Imagine, “We Are the World” sung independently by 4 cousins, wearing headphones, trying to imitate Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan and Cyndi Lauper (et.al.) It was a little…no, it was almost exactly like this…

It was a lot of fun, and it got me thinking about music. How it shapes me, for good and bad, and how easily it gets inside my head. Hundreds and hundreds of songs whose lyrics spill effortlessly out of my mouth when I hear them on Pandora, or search iTunes for “1978” and click through the Essentials. Even the Deep Cuts are familiar to me.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had this happen, but it happens all too often to me. A song comes on and you think, “Wow, I haven’t heard that in years. Good song!” And you start singing it word for word, when you suddenly realize exactly what you’re saying. I mean you never really payed attention or understood what the song was about. But you do now. Boy, do you ever!

I know my head’s full of that kind of stuff. I wonder what the good side of that coin looks like. Whose music has affected me the most for the good? Whose lyrics and music has challenged me, convicted me, given me hope, taught me, changed me? In CCM it’s a no brainer. Keith Green, and Rich Mullins.

There are truths in some songs I want to learn, and to live from the rest of my days. Truths I need to pass on to my kids. This one, by Rich Mullins, is one of those.

“Let mercy lead. Let love be the strength in your legs. And in every footprint that you leave there’ll be a drop of grace.”

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another .”