Friday, January 29, 2010

Half Marathon. What was I thinking!

It's always great to have a case of diarrhea the day before a half marathon for Motion for Missions in the 20's with snow predicted. It is great to live by faith and not by sight and…

Lord, I cannot remember attempting a long distance run/walk when I didn't feel awful the day or days before. I pray I pass this test, eventually, so I can feel good the day and days before. Meanwhile, burden others to pray for and donate to bring the end to human trafficking.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pray for our president.

At least give equal time for prayer that you give for criticism. Better yet, give much more time to pray for our president than criticize him. Last night in prayer group, as is the custom, we lifted up our president, and all who are in authority. Be encouraged to give prayer a better chunk of your day than criticism.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

1 Tim. 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone–2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior,(NIV)

Let us give more than equal time devoted to prayer for our president, and less time devoted to criticism. Criticism is for the critics and prayer is for the doers. America needs an awakening much more than new policies or politics or a new administration. With an awakening to God, America will have what we need and want.

Lord, we ask for your wisdom, guidance, knowledge of your will to be given to President Obama, his cabinet, the judicial system, the legislative branch, and all who are in authority at every level. We ask for an Awakening to you, by all of America, especially those in authority. We humbly ask this in your name, amen.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

“Be still, and know that I am God”

This is a spiritual discipline I find difficult to exercise consistently. Being still and constantly moving forward seems to be opposing disciplines. The command to 'Sabbath' says we are to labor six days and the seventh we are to rest. The cumulative effect of balancing a life of constant forward motion, with a day or two to be 'still' is forward progress. Going to sleep early, sleeping in, piddling around, meditating, pondering life, all the while in communion with the Father is a necessary discipline. Doing nothing, while communing with God in prayer according to Psalms 46: 10 results in God being exalted among the nations and in the earth. If hyper activity isn't working for you, try hyper stilling for a day or so.

Lord, help me and others to be still, doing nothing except communing with You.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Slowing down to go further.

It's fasting time again, and the net result is slowing down. Everything seems slow, taking more time than normal to get normal stuff done. Mental, spiritual, emotional, physical clarity comes afterwards, but for now, my brain feels full of glue. Cleansing and spiritual breakthrough's are preceded by slowing, or stilling one's life to know God in a deeper way. It's not a discipline I like, or look forward to, but I do like the results. Some serious prayer needs came in late afternoon, and was glad to intercede for a friends needs. I won't be doing any complicated math, or solving any puzzles, or playing any word games, or working on a sermon. Sitting here, stilling myself, to know God is about all I am up to.

Lord, help me and others know you better.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cruise Stopped in Haiti.

Being a cancer survivor of an incurable form of cancer affects my perspective of making a stop in Haiti by the owners of the cruise ship (Royal Caribbean). All over the world, every day, people walk out of doctor's offices after hearing the news that they or a loved one has cancer. Day in, day out all over the world, there are chemotherapy wards, administering the harshest of drugs, into bodies that will die unless taking the harsh drugs. One of the very first lessons a cancer survivor learns is that the earth keeps spinning and life goes on. The world didn't stop when I learned I had an incurable cancer in stage four, and the world didn't stop when the horrible earthquake brought its destruction to Haiti. I personally interviewed four Haitians on Labadie, Haiti about our presence. It was unanimous that the Haitians were very glad we were there. The other Haitians, I didn't interview, but were strongly encouraging me to come into their shops and buy some of their stuff, were also very, very glad we were there.

The owner's of the cruise line, donated $1,000,000.00 to the Haitian relief effort, left multiple pallets of basic supplies, and all the money spent in Haiti was given to the relief efforts. Any number of the cruiser's would have gladly gone and helped in the relief efforts, but we would have only gotten in the way.

It seems uncaring and disrespectful, that life goes on, when a portion of a population is suffering horribly. How long should a person, their families, a community mourn when an indescribable loss occurs? As a cancer survivor I had to, and I am sure the earthquake survivors will one day, start moving forward with their lives. Day in, day out, good people suffer, and yet, life goes on. In oncologist offices every day, people hear news they never want to hear. Every day, in Chemotherapy wards, people receive strong, harsh doses of medicine that renders them hairless, energy less, tasteless, and a blur mentally, yet, life goes on.

My wife and I spent some good money, to go wave running in Labadie, Haiti. We laughed till we cried, at the incredible fun we were having. Our fun increased exponentially, when I turned over the driving to my wife, who is well known, as someone who drives much faster than I do. My frugal self, probably wouldn't have spent the money, unless knowing it was going to the relief efforts, and I am glad I did. Laughing, for an extended period of time, with your love one, simultaneously when many people are suffering horribly, is a mystery that life keeps moving on with or without us.

The group we were with, (Priority One Missions), partnered together, and made Faith Promises of over a $1,100,000.00 to build bible schools, train leaders and equip for ministry, the multiplied thousands of people, God is calling into ministry. There are always, incredibly positive things, happening simultaneously with incredible horrible things.

It is not fully understandable, or comprehensible, but it can be accepted, that life goes on, no matter the circumstances a person faces.

Lord, help us follow you, through the valleys of the shadows of death, as well as the moments of extreme pleasure and joy. We lift up, the relief efforts in Haiti, and ask for your joy in the midst of mourning to come to all who are suffering.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Heading to the state of my birth and then to the Caribbean.

Heading to the "no problem, man" and "cool running" area of the world. Thanks be to God for everyone who is handling everything Brenda and I normally do. I won't be blogging, for a week, or anything else electronically (By grace). Going to be 'stilling' my soul, hearing from the Lord, and lots of fun stuff.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Installation Luncheon

I am so, very thankful for the 2009 leadership of the VTRCC (Vienna Tyson's Regional Chamber of Commerce. I am also looking forward to new leadership which will be installed today. This region is blessed to have this past and present team of leaders at the helm of a very strategic organization. I know I am becoming a better person and more effective pastor by being connected to the VTRCC.

Lord, thank you, for the multiple threads that comprise the fabric of this community. Grant everyone in leadership, the wisdom we need for now and the future.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Another great night of prayer!

It is such a privileged blessing to be able to gather in prayer and connect with God for the innumerable needs facing all of humanity. It is immeasurable, the peace that comes when fully engaged in prayer with those full of faith. I fully expect, direct answers to prayer that will be unexplainable by humanity.

Lord, thank you that you are immeasurably above and beyond anything we can grasp or think about, yet you loved us so much to come and dwell among us.

It’s always good to have your new passport two days before leaving.

It was a welcome sight to see my new passport. I would have not liked seeing Brenda depart on the cruise, while I am held at the port. One of our stops was in Haiti, so, pray for that country, and for us who will most likely be diverted to some other place.

Lord, I thank you for help in securing my passport, and we ask for help for Haiti.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

POWER!

Thanks be to God for the POWER to clear out a backed up toilet! Sermon prep, toilet clearing, getting to the bottom of my inbox and other stuff all in one day. I love my ministry. Tonight I continue packing for the missions convention cruise to the Caribbean. And… my passport is done! Day after the fast, lots of things got done by the POWER of the Holy Spirit.

Lord, thanks for the reminder, that when You are acknowledged in all our ways, You somehow, take care of unpleasant, difficult, time sensitive situations.

Fasting

Don't know why it's called fasting. Should be called slowing. The spiritual discipline of saying no to something for a brief period of time is called fasting, but for me the result is slowing. Fasting food is the most common of all fasts, and it had been a few years since I had embraced this discipline, so I was a bit hesitant of starting it up again. I was pleasantly surprised. No caffeine withdrawal headache was the primary reason for joy. I wasn't fast, but slow most of the day, but I made it through. Fasting food and drinking plenty of fluids has a cleansing affect physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. Saying no to a days' food means 2500 less calories a week, and that's a good thing for me, a bad thing for my belly fat. Saying no to a day's food forces one to concentrate on all tasks at hand, and that's a good thing. Saying no to food, places one in a place of saying yes to God's help and that is the best thing about a fast. Saying no to food for a day, empowered me to say yes to tackling difficult tasks that piled up on my desk. Fasting is the least favorite spiritual discipline, but the most rewarding in its results. Some people have gotten quite creative in the fast. There are Daniel fasts, T.V. fasts, movie fasts, vanilla coke fasts, dessert fasts, meat fasts, vegetable fasts, alcohol fasts, etc, etc, etc. To me, a fast has a slowing affect and that's a good time to place deeper trust in the Lord, and much less trust in the flesh.

Lord, help me and others fast the good things of life, so we can slow down to enjoy the best things and the best One.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Getting Ready to Cruise the Caribbean

Probably shouldn't have let my passport expire…

Lord, thank you for mercy and grace.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A New Day

Waking up and having breakfast with granddaughter's is a joy.

Thank you, Lord for the many blessings of life.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Moving forward requires rest

Mt. 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Jeans

It isn't a good thing when your oncologist looks at your belly fat and recommends lowering your calorie intake. 
So, after the Rituxan chemotherapy on Thursday Brenda and I went shopping for the thing that always motivates me to change.

Jeans that fit. 
 
Something about the reality of paying for larger jeans motivates me. Combined with the surprised gaze of my oncologist at my belly it is time for calorie reduction. After seeing my new granddaughter I sat down to eat a great meal my son-in-law's mom had made.  And there was gravy. Tomorrow is when I will begin calorie reduction. Plus, she said we need to eat up the ice cream to make more room for the food she was preparing for Tom and Rachel. It was a task, that needed to be done. Another good reason to wait till tomorrow, or the next, or the next.
 
So, maybe today calorie reduction will occur, or maybe not. I will go wear my new jeans and store away the old in hope I can fit into them without holding my breath while jumping up and down to get them buttoned. 
 
Lord, help me and others eat healthily without excess calories and without excuses. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Good News

Today at 4:00 pm. Bethany Anne joined the Kraft family girls + Tom. Her height and weight were 20 3/4 in and 8 lbs 9.7 oz 

Brenda and I are grandparents a third time. Thanks be to God.
 

After affects of Prayer

Appreciation to our District Leadership for the format and spirit of the Day of Prayer. A burden was lifted, a word from the Lord was received, more health for my body was received, connection with God's people was made, and multiple unseen things occurred.

Thank you, Lord, for being Lord. In Your Name, we pray, live, move and have our being.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day of prayer was excellent

Thanks be to God for a really fruitful day of prayer.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Missional

Project Rescue's representative, Emily Griswold, gave a great message to VAOG and inspired us on the first Sunday of the decade to be missional.

Lord, save us from ourselves, and help us be 'sent ones'. Lord, please, end all forms of Human Trafficking and every aspect of all types of slavery. Bless Project Rescue and others on the front lines in this all important battle.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Hunting on New Year’s Day

Armed with a camera and assisted by a Cairn terrier, I went hunting a mile from my house. The woods were silent, and covered with a thin blanket of snow. Leaves had long since been shed and the view through the woods was no longer hidden by the leaves. I had walked in about a mile and decided to take an alternate trail that would take me up to the top of a ridge, when I detected movement. A big racked buck had bedded down about 4/5ths of the way up the ridge and he had turned to see what was approaching. He could see us, but had not scented us, was comfortable in his bed, and just kept his eye on us.

My camera shot was adequate and stood there for multiple minutes as he pondered what to do with us. In a true hunting scenario, it isn't a good choice to shoot at a bedded deer. It is seems too easy, and it turns out to be very difficult to actually hit a kill zone, so I eased up around and above him. I came out above him, and got a few more shots of him bedded, but now he had an uncomfortable head position and he stood up from his bed. We sat there looking at each other for more minutes and at this moment, with a broadside shot, I was fairly certain I could have harvested this magnificent animal. He eased down the hill and I didn't directly follow him, but indirectly. I lost sight of him, but kept on walking, and looked up another ridge only to see another large rack buck. He was with about 10 does, and I was able to get more and more shots with my camera. My Cairn terrier was in the moment, and remained silent beside me as we both took in the view of this special encounter. The herd eventually moved off, but not after presenting us with some great memories.

As I turned to head back home my steps were lighter, and somehow this encounter had lifted an unknown burden. Time immersed in God's creation once again, had entered me into His grace and the net effect was peace. I always look forward to 'assembling together' with God's people, and I equally appreciate being able to immerse myself into God's creation.

Lord, thank you for the both/and of being in your presence in nature and in community. Help us enter into both without excluding either from our spiritual lives.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Constant Forward Motion for 2010

I have awakened with no desire for a new life, new wife, new community, new congregation, new family, new hobby, new car, new bad habits, new burdens, new problems, new disease, etc. It has brought a big desire for a better life, being a better husband, pastor, dad, grand dad, writer, hunter, runner, leader, overcomer, etc. It has brought a renewed sense of constant forward motion, and a realization of God's grace to keep moving forward.

Having an already abundantly full life, my prayer is to keep learning, improving, and overall getting better at everything and with everyone.

Ephesians 5:18 encourages us always to be being filled with the Spirit. A continual, never ending, improving on one's fullness of the Spirit. May we never think we cannot grow any more, improve, or receive any more fullness of the Spirit. It is a new year and a new decade, and time (with new years) will one day be no more, but a life that is continually being filled with the Holy Spirit, will never end, and bear fruit that will not perish.

Lord, with everyone's emphasis on a new year, may no one walk away from anyone and anything your master plan has included. Help all of us continually be being filled with your spirit so we can keep growing, improving, loving, learning, and becoming more like You.