The Intercessors

June 5, 2014

One of the gifts of this season in my life is that I have been able to be part of and attend various other traditions of faith- see how other denominations function, coach pastors who live in a different system, be part of churches that have been in existence for years or baby churches just planted, sit on the other side of pulpit learning what the attenders see and hear and desire and respond to, and experience the spirituality and practices and theology of other churches. It has been rich and I have learned so much more than I ever could staying in my own little world. In fact, some of my dearest friends in this season come from different denominations.

On Tuesday, I got to experience something I had never known before. We attended an Intercessory Prayer service. I had been to healing services before. I had even led a few. And of course, I had watched TBN’s flashy, fancy, and “I-wonder-if-that-is-staged-but-I’m-not-sure” healing services. This was not like that. It was not like what I had led. It was not like what so many evangelicals call healing services. We went for my son. And God showed up big. Read the rest of this entry »

The Limp

April 25, 2014

I walk with a slight limp. Last year I snapped a major tendon in my calf, which then led to a second injury- this time to my knee- which will one day give me an ultimatum: “It’s surgery or walking- pick one!” Because of these injuries, I move with a slight limp. It’s not noticeable to everyone and some days it is worse than others. In fact, I can sometimes even disguise my limp for a period of time, working hard to not show a gait that is somewhat off. But eventually it shows, especially going up and down the stairs. Compensation only takes you so far. So I walk with a slight limp.

Recently I led a group discussion on the life of Jacob from the Scripture. This sneaky, stealing, deceiving person who before he was born held the blessing of God. Clearly God’s blessing is not attached to our behavior or Jacob would have been lost not so long after he was born. The word the group I was leading came up with was, “swarmy.” Jacob was swarmy. And he was. Kinda a class A jerk. It is ironic that for years this swarminess goes on, even as Jacob’s life is punctuated by God’s clear favor and blessing despite it all. Then near the end of his saga in Genesis, we find him at the river’s edge, alone, at night. He was preparing to meet his brother- one of the people he had cheated. One of the folks who wanted Jacob dead. It has been over 20 years since he had last seen his brother and the Scripture makes clear that Jacob’s a little nervous about the whole encounter.

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Making Christmas Merry

December 4, 2013

“Isn’t really that merry anymore,” she said to me, her thin lips pulled tight under her dark glasses that she always wore, even inside. I had just wished her a “Merry Christmas” since I wouldn’t be back to this little congregation until the Sunday after Christmas.

“Isn’t really that merry anymore,” she said, “because my kids are all gone now, you see. My youngest died just a couple years ago. And I have no family. So Christmases aren’t that merry anymore.”

It was one of those moments when I didn’t know what to say. Maybe because it was such a hard truth or maybe because it was a sacred space. Or maybe both. But I was left for a moment without any words, scraping up whatever I could to find a response.

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Remember Your Calling

June 19, 2012

When I was in seminary- I don’t remember which class- but I do remember the professor talking deeply about his experience of “call.” The language of call is thrown around quite loosely in many faith traditions, including my own. But even as it is used so much, it means something important.

But what? I have pondered this many years now. The mystical, almost other-worldly experience of call. I’ve written on my own “call experience” and presented it a number of times. I’ve heard people’s own wonderings on their sense of call. And I’ve even found my sense of call shift and change a time or two as well. Read the rest of this entry »