Thursday, April 26, 2012


A stranger beside me utters words to God on my behalf. Words that only she and her master understand. Words that she hopes will have some impact on my life in a positive way. Why she chose to pray over me is a mystery for there are easily hundreds of other women and teens seated around us in this place. I too am praying silently, fervently  this evening, tears flowing like rivulets that I cannot control. Oh but there is no mastering this salty water, that escapes my eyes faster than I can wipe it away. Yet even this is good because it is a soul-cleansing cry I so desperately need. My spirit is aching and I am hungry for more. 

Tonight is about being in the presence of his glory and calling out to Jesus. It is the right time to surrender many things which have held me captive for so long. 

Moments pass between two strangers, how many moments I cannot say. And then a word of encouragement forms on her lips, this woman decades younger than myself. I am straining to hear, partly excited for the word or words she will bring me, and partly fearful that I am unable to receive a blessing. I lean in close, and hear the echo of my own individual prayer --"purpose," she says. "That is the word, the prayer, the utterance God gave me for you. Take it, receive it and may the Lord give you new purpose."  My purpose in this life is ever changing, but his words that nourish the soul come in the most unexpected & delightful ways.

"When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. When you come looking for me, you'll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed."  Jeremiah 29:12-14 (the Message)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quote of the Day

The discipline of thanks only comes with practice.
When we practice giving thanks, we practice the presence of God, stay present to His presence, and it is always the eyes, and a practice of the eyes.

We don't have to change what we see, only the way we see.
Why is it so hard to re-tune the impaired senses to sense the spirit I wonder? To see the grace before us in every circumstance? Why is it so hard? Practice. Practice. Practice.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fish Tanks or Flash?

What is the most expensive build you have ever completed and what made it so expensive?
A $4.7 million arch aquarium that we built for IBOC (Inspiring Body of Christ) church in Dallas, TX…..70,000 gallons of magnificence.
Flabbergasted is the word I want to use in this moment. A church in Dallas Texas felt it was necessary to install a $4.7 million dollar aquarium in their sanctuary.

This tank was built by the 2 guys from the reality TV show, "TANKED." Brett Raymer is the COO of Acrylic Tank Manufacturing (ATM). 
I'd say this is definitely a tank of beauty. Seeing God's creation in the form of fish and all manner of sea life is awe-inspiring; it's gorgeous but I struggle with the reason behind putting an aquarium inside of a church structure.
70,000 gallons of water could have been used to provide clean drinking water to the poverty-stricken inhabitants living in the horn of Africa, or India, or any other number of countries. Clean water is a necessity, but a fish tank, even though it's full of salt water? Drinking water! Wells, Bibles translated in native languages for indigenous people. Yeah, that means something to me. As does paying for uniforms and education for those who cannot afford something so valuable.
Have I missed something? Is attracting people to a church with a "wow factor" somehow more relevant than giving them bread and water and the gospel message and a safe haven? Is ministry falling by the wayside as churches become bigger and more extravagant?
The twelve met in homes. They distributed any money that came in and fed people, clothed people. They also had day jobs as I recall, but I digress.
I was equally aghast after watching an interview with Joel Osteen in which he said he was thrilled to have spent approximately 25 million on the children's ministry section of his mega-church Lakewood. Now bear with me, I may have not have the exact figures correct here, but I did watch the interview Joel did on Oprah's Next Chapter. His children's ministry had been designed to resemble a Disney theme park so that the children would love coming to church on Sundays & Wednesday nights. So now we need theme parks and fish tanks.
And Joel makes a valid point in his interview about reaching people. I'll give him that because I'm not writing to bash the man. Again, I question the issue of spending millions to be attractional.
Lakewood is an operation… getting people their to the church, getting people there with their children, etc.
  • If we don’t take care of children people won’t come.
  • If we make the space for the children that’s great, they will want their parents to bring them.
  • It takes nearly 5,000 volunteers to make a weekend happen at Lakewood.

I think we need the Bible, a whole lot of love, and simplicity. Really, I'd probably love to interview the pastor of IBOC about his fish tank idea and Mr. Osteen. I'd like to ask how these ideas became so important in light of community or ekklesia.
Until next time, breathe.