November 11, 2012

who believes

written Nov.11/2012

who believes, and how?
we stand sing; we bow
we learn and lead, we pray
for God's voice to speak today
I stand up and use my gifts
I walk to the edge, I stand on a cliff
I learn and grow; do I walk alone?
I hope for a glimpse, I approach the throne
You gather me with the other sheep
You walk alongside me, you're strong for the weak
You are much greater, You surprise me
You are present to those who believe

October 27, 2012

break

written April 23, 2012

Hearts break and you witness the sound of mourning
And morning with the dawn arrives when the sun shines hot
So your weak eyes hesitate to open so they don’t see
But they have seen and won’t close again in your mind’s eye 
It’s in the same way you cry for the loss of innocence
Almost to forget but also to recover a sense of feeling  
You broke wide open at the site of a haven
A shelter in their eyes, their hands, their arms. 
A place where rest isn’t questioned but welcomed and custom.
You learn in broken places that rest is a gift,
You learn in darkness how bright it is when light breaks. 

October 25, 2012

dream

written Oct 25/2012

A dream is a wish your heart makes
And, oh, does it ache,
And, oh, does it keep you awake,
A dream is a hope your mind creates
Something to which one’s very soul gravitates
But the world complicates
And the foolish wander from, forgetting what’s at stake
No, a dream is not only a dream
It is rooted in stories of need
It’s a vision for overcoming the norm of greed
It’s responding to the call to gather and feed
I dream pie-in-the-sky and I’m unrealistic
I am preoccupied with the caring of souls, not statistics
You might argue that it is na├»ve and I’m being simplistic
But I simply wish to dream.

October 11, 2012

'Next Door Ministries'

I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THANKFUL TO HAVE GROWN UP IN A PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY SAFE HOME. MY NEEDS WERE MET, MY HEART WAS CHERISHED, MY INPUT VALUED AND IT IS WHERE I LEARNED WHAT LOVE IS.  

I HOPE TO ESTABLISH A HOME FOR YOUTH WHO ARE AGING-OUT OF THE CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM WHO HAVEN'T YET FELT ESTABLISHED, STILL NEEDING TOOLS TO VENTURE OUT AND REALIZE THEIR DREAMS. THE HOME WOULD BE TRANSITIONAL HOUSING FOR YOUTH 17-21.

IDEALLY, THIS BUILDING WOULD HAVE SEPARATE APARTMENTS WHERE SMALLER COMMUNITIES OF 2-3 YOUTH AND A NEXT DOOR COMMUNITY MEMBER* WOULD LIVE. COMMUNITY MEMBERS WOULD ACT AS AN OLDER SIBLING AND BE MENTORS/LEADERS TO THE YOUTH IN THEIR CARE. COMMUNITY MEMBERS WOULD NOT BE STAFF BUT WOULD HAVE A REDUCED RENT AND COMMIT TO SPENDING A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF TIME WITH YOUTH IN THEIR APARTMENT EACH WEEK. STAFF WOULD PROVIDE COUNSELLING, SPECIALIZED CARE/TREATMENT (EX. ART THERAPY) , EDUCATION, SUPERVISION, FOOD ORDERING/PREPARING AND ESTABLISH/MAINTAIN RELATIONSHIPS WITH DONORS AND PARTNERING ORGANIZATIONS.

THERE WOULD BE A COMMON SPACE WHERE EVERYONE COULD EAT TOGETHER. YOUTH AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS WOULD SHARE HOUSEHOLD RESPONSIBILITIES TO FOSTER OWNERSHIP FOR THE SPACE AND COMMUNITY IN WHICH THEY LIVE. THE HOME WOULD DO OUTINGS, SERVICE PROJECTS AND TAKE HOLIDAYS, JUST AS A FAMILY MIGHT.

AS PART OF THE TRANSITIONAL COMPONENT OF NEXT DOOR, YOUTH WOULD BE REQUIRED TO SET OUT PERSONAL, SOCIAL, AND EDUCATIONAL/PROFESSIONAL GOALS TO GUIDE THEIR TIME AT NEXT DOOR. YOUTH WOULD HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY, THROUGH VOLUNTEER TUTORS AND QUALIFIED TEACHERS, TO OBTAIN AND/OR COMPLETE THEIR SECONDARY SCHOOL EDUCATION/GED. NEXT DOOR MINISTRIES WOULD HOPE TO PARTNER WITH NEIGHBOURING ORGANIZATIONS FOR ASSISTANCE WITH COUNSELLING, LINKING TO COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY PROGRAMS, EMPLOYMENT, AND SKILL-BUILDING.

AFTER LESS THAN TWO YEARS AT NEXT DOOR, YOUTH WILL HAVE TRANSITIONED INTO THE NEXT STEP OF THEIR CHOSEN FUTURE. A SAFE FOUNDATION WILL HAVE BEGUN TO BE BUILT AND THEY WILL ESTABLISH THEMSELVES IN THE REALITY OF HAVING A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY TO WALK WITH THEM THROUGH THE YEARS.

SOME OF THESE YOUTH WILL HAVE KNOWN THE FRONT DOOR OF MANY NEW LIVING SPACES, MOVING OFTEN AND KNOWING INSTABILITY IN THEIR FIRST SHORT YEARS. THE NAME 'NEXT DOOR' IS CHOSEN OUT OF A DESIRE TO BE A NEIGHBOURLY AND ACCESSIBLE COMMUNITY FOR YOUTH TO JOIN AND CALL THEIR OWN. WE'RE "JUST NEXT DOOR", AS IN, WE'RE RIGHT HERE FOR YOU. SINCE THE MODEL INCLUDES TRANSITIONAL PROGRAMMING, NEXT DOOR CAN BE A REFERENCE POINT FOR YOUTH AS THEY ENDEAVOUR TO REACH NEW HEIGHTS. 


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Isaiah 58:6-12

[Rather] is not this the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every [enslaving] yoke? 

Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house—when you see the naked, that you cover him, and that you hide not yourself from [the needs of] your own flesh and blood? 


Then shall your light break forth like the morning, and your healing (your restoration and the power of a new life) shall spring forth speedily; your righteousness (your rightness, your justice, and your right relationship with God) shall go before you [conducting you to peace and prosperity], and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.


Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, Here I am. If you take away from your midst yokes of oppression [wherever you find them], the finger pointed in scorn [toward the oppressed or the godly], and every form of false, harsh, unjust,and wicked speaking,


And if you pour out that with which you sustain your own life for the hungry and satisfy the need of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in darkness, and your obscurity and gloom become like the noonday.


And the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy you in drought and in dry places and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.

And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of [buildings that have laid waste for] many generations; and you shall be called Repairer of the Breach, Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.

led out, led forth


written March 27/12


led out of the cold, out of the depth
the depth of lonely, the being bereft
the inside confusion, the steady facade
the beauty and grace covered in the odd

led out by a face, a narrow path to guide
the hope to run a good race, and not to hide
the truth of beautiful grace and the will to confide

‘for you shall go out in joy & be led forth in peace’
the truths gathered now will not one day cease
choose freedom and be delivered; know release

cry tears of forgiveness, cry tears of real joy
give wisdom and counsel, mind and heart to employ
store up the kind of treasures that moths would not destroy

hope

written Jan 24/12


she taught me about hope;
she warned me about it.
she said it would lead me and betray me,
she had seen its light and trusted it.
she had come a long way since then
she was stronger for it, and wiser

she would hope again, but not here
and not without reservation
and not without a good reason

truly she trusted the darkness more
and she was stumbling around happily in it
and she was surrounded by it

she ignored the source of hope’s light
she knew only the opposite
and then believed
she needed 
a better reason to hope

honest

written Nov. 14/2010


i fear pain. honest.

maybe it’s ‘cause i’m selfish
maybe i could call it self-preservation

‘cause it hurts too much 
and it urks too much
stuck in ideals of church too much
those needy, left in the lurch too much

maybe we could call it a pattern
maybe it comes from darker taverns

cause i’m sure enough 
that we’re deep enough
to know when enough’s enough
find truth by spreading light enough
on the wrong and those troubled
on the needs that grow and double

it’s doesn’t take a sleuth 
to know of confidence, youth 
to know loyalty like Ruth’s
that provides light and guiding Truth

for we give and hold back
we forgive but we lack
we lay down and attack
goods we stack
deeds we track

if we’re honest, we’re scared

October 9, 2012

observing rest

The Antithesis of Psalm 23
by Marcia K. Hornok

The clock is my dictator, I shall not rest.
It makes me lie down only when exhausted.
It leads me to deep depression. It hounds my soul.
It leads me in circles of frenzy for activity’s sake.
Even though I run frantically from task to task,
I will never get it done, 
For my “ideal” is with me.
Deadlines and my need for approval, they drive me.
They demand performance from me, 
beyond the limits of my schedule.
They annoint my head with migraines.
My in-basket overflows.
Surely fatigue and time pressure shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the bonds of frustration forever.


I am really bad at finding, choosing and valuing rest. I am learning what it is to truly rest and how resting is an act of obedience. In fact, right now I am enjoying some jazz in the middle of the week - just chillin'. This is not lazy; this is wise! 


“Jesus calls us to his rest, and meekness is His method. The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort.” - A.W. Tozer


Jesus says in Matthew 11:28+29 - "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls."


Soul-Level Relief. Deep Ease. Needed Refreshment. Recreation (fun!). Blessed Quiet. For my SOUL! 


"Japanese Version of Psalm 23"
(Composed by Toki Miyashina and broadcast by Rev. Eric Frost on 4th May 1965)


The Lord is my Pace-setter, I shall not rush;
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals.
He provides me with images of stillness,which restore my serenity;
He leads me in ways of efficiency through calmness of mind,
And His guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day,
I will not fret, for His presence is here.
His timelessness, His all importance, will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity
By anointing my mind with His oils of tranquillity.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours,
For I shall walk in the peace of my Lord, and dwell in His house forever.

September 17, 2012

believe; listen & keep dreaming.


today i was told that i should keep dreaming - bigger and greater dreams for God's kingdom. i will try do that. 
i will also try remember Who it is who calls me. 
i will seek to discover more about how great, mighty, good and faithful God is. 

after some dreaming, i did a substantial amount of questioning. then, i did some listening. 
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God calls. He does this in the form of a dream that tugs on my heart. I hear it and (barely) respond.

Isaiah 6
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for Us?" Then said I, "Here am I; send me."

Doubt creeps in. Fear enters the exciting scene. "But, who am I?" 

Exodus 4
10 And Moses said to the Lord, "O Lord, I am not eloquent or a man of words, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and have a heavy and awkward tongue."
11 And the Lord said to him, "Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the dumb, or the deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and will teach you what you shall say."

Esther 4
14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from elsewhere, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?

OK. God is... aaactually sending me. But, He will go with me and provide for me. I think I'm getting this. But then, no... that's not all

Acts 5
38 Now in the present case let me say to you, stand off (withdraw) from these men and let them alone. For if this doctrine or purpose or undertaking or movement is of human origin, it will fail (be overthrown and come to nothing); 39 But if it is of God, you will not be able to stop or overthrow or destroy them; you might even be found fighting against God!

The Lord will go ahead; leading, and having already made the way. This, He promises. 

Psalm 27
The Lord is my Light and my Salvation—whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the Refugeand Stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, [even then] in this will I be confident.
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness] of the Lord and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple.
For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter; in the secret place of His tent will He hide me; He will set me high upon a rock.
And now shall my head be lifted up above my enemies round about me; in His tent I will offer sacrifices and shouting of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; have mercy and be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word].
Hide not Your face from me; turn not Your servant away in anger, You Who have been my help! Cast me not off, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation!
10 Although my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].
11 Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain and even path because of my enemies [those who lie in wait for me].
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen up against me; they breathe out cruelty and violence.
13 [What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living!
14 Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.


And, though I still hesitate to believe wholeheartedly...

Philippians 1
I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus. 

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to be continued.

May 27, 2012

somebody


somebody called a Name
they called for freedom 
they called for laughter
they asked that joy and peace
and love might follow after
somebody called a Name
somebody listened long
they heard the thunder
they heard the song
they prayed that ears be open 
and hearts would belong 
somebody listened long
somebody believed in Life
they touched the sick
they touched the sky
they walked the streets
and brought the broken home
somebody believed in Life
somebody asked questions
they gave no answers
they gave no fight
they asked that in faith 
their ways would be right
somebody asked questions
somebody shouted for joy
they painted forgiveness
they painted release
they wanted the truth to 
be in action, not only speech
somebody shouted for joy
somebody reached out
they stood in the gap
they stood up tall
they created a bridge 
and forgot they were small
somebody reached out
somebody called out loud
they called for freedom
they called for laughter
they hoped that joy and peace
and love would follow after
somebody called out loud

May 10, 2012

Grace: a great gift, my part, my questions.

The song "Love Never Fails" by Brandon Heath stirred up this blog post today. (It's been a while since a song-blog, eh?)

Shocked, this week I listened as a friend was socially ostracized for a horrific choice they made. The expression of anger I witnessed didn't resemble the grace I wished would be extended to my friend and made me cringe as I considered the ways I fail in stewarding God's grace to others. I confess, there are circumstances or situations or people that I have treated with a "doomed" mentality..... which is wrong and judgemental of me. It, also, is simply not my place.

As broken and imperfect human beings, I was struck by the power we have as Christians to reconcile people and welcome them to the beauty of God's gift of love. When we don't act as agents of reconciliation, we spread brokenness. In our depraved way of understanding we can act as blockers (dams, if you will) to the healing waters of God's grace and mercy. We taint or limit God's work of grace by closing our hearts to those we (consciously or unconsciously) deem 'outside' of God's reach or believe to be 'beyond' restoration.



Questions filled my mind as the tears filled my eyes and my heart grew heavy.


can/should love always hope? (1Cor13)
does grace ever ever ever run out? (Jn1:16, Rm3:24/5:20)
is there an end-point to love's reach? (Isaiah 59:1)
has Love ever failed me? (Deut 31:6, Josh 23:14)

as an agent of reconciliation through Jesus Christ, what action must i take? (2 Cor 5:18)

do i let fear beat out love's pull to relationship? (Jn 14:1)
how do we forget we were also forgiven in our condemning words? (1 Cor 6:20)
are we not also redeemed from the wreckage? (Isaiah 1:18)
i am dust just like my neighbour, right? (Ps 103:14)
for what purpose were you freed? (Eph 2)
today, and always, does love matter most? (1 Cor 13)


where have i blocked love from 'flowing through'? (2 Cor 4:1)


There is a precedent presented in Jesus where grace is honest and beautiful and messy and overflowing, and is for everyone. We want to be good stewards of God's grace, which I believe shouldn't be treated as a finite amount of precious perfume... but should be spilt and splashed liberally throughout the places and relationships we are welcomed into as we share the gifts we've been given (Eph 2:9). Are we not the 'aroma of Christ' (2 Cor 2:15)?

I think it's pretty important to decide how I'm going to live, apply, share, give, spread and thank God for the grace I've been given. Truth is, God can and will do what He wills without me. (But I'd rather be part of the amazing work He's actively doing.) God's in the business of restoring people to Himself... I want to only always be helpful in the process of reconciliation and, otherwise, I need to get out of the way!!

How will I build on the foundation or example of grace laid out for me? How can I excel in this 'act of grace' and align myself with what God is doing in people's lives so that grace can abound from God... through me... to the people I come in contact with?

1 Cor 3:10 - "According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it."

2 Cor 8:7 - "But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you — see that you excel in this act of grace also."

February 26, 2012

a prayer, in Jesus' name



when i forget You are holy, that Jesus the Holy One died, remind me
when i forget Jesus’ blood alone can make me clean, remind me
when i forget Jesus was broken for me, a sinner, remind me
when i believe i know what it means to suffer, humble me
when i live as though the cross i bear is outside Your understanding, humble me
when i give and complain as though i invented surrender, humble me 
forgive me, for the ways i act like Peter and forsake you in my day
forgive me, for the ways i act like Judas and trade you for riches
forgive me, for the ways i act like Pilate and wash my hands of You
forgive me, for the ways i act like Herod and make a mockery of Jesus
forgive me, for the ways i act like the High Priest and reject You
forgive me, for the ways i act outside Your will, as if believing I own my life 
thank you for Your work that cleanses me
thank you for Your work that humbles me
thank you for Your work that restores relationship
thank you for Your work that grants mercy
thank you for Your work that frees me
thank you for Your work that brings new life

John 15:13 - ‘greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends’

January 20, 2012

spring


Spring

when you breathe in and all you get is air
when life brings hope rather than despair
when you look around, finding things to share
when fear is real, but doesn’t keep you scared
when joy comes in and stops being rare
when truth sheds light and makes you aware
when steps lead you up, like taking the stairs
when caring matters and you can’t help but care
when winter’s gone and spring is everywhere