Archive for September, 2007

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i feel like a tree

The trees on the east coast are amazing…I’m so looking forward to the fall colors. It’s strange, but I feel like a tree. figuratively. Let me explain.

I was born in a Wilmington hospital. I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware. My parents live in the same ranch house that my 4 siblings and I grew up in. Before we added on to our house, there were 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 5 kids and my parents. My brother and I shared a room through high school. The pile of clothes that piled up between our beds was a beautiful thing (except to my mom and sisters). I still live in Wilmington, Delaware. Libby and I had talked about moving a couple of years after we got married, before we had kids. But we didn’t. And now it doesn’t make sense to move. But we’re praying about it again. I feel like a tree with deep roots. There is always a Delaware connection to be found when you meet someone around here. And our kids are a couple of minutes from both sets of grandparents and we are so close to family and friends.

So I feel like a tree with deep roots, that’s about to be balled up and planted somewhere new. It sounds dangerous and a little scary. I admit, part of me does want to move – just to have a different view. But the rest of me absolutely does not. I know it will be hardest on Lib and the kids. Hopefully we’ll get planted in some soft soil and our roots will catch on quickly deep and strong in a new place.

Whether the scenery of our life changes or not, He is the true vine.

And His roots run deep enough.

tree kids

John 15 – The Vine and the Branches

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

Psalm 1

1 Blessed are those
who do not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,

2 but who delight in the law of the LORD
and meditate on his law day and night.

3 They are like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

not trying to point the finger at you, unless the ‘you’ is me

Here’s some honesty for you bro…

Sometimes I’m confused how sin can step into a really spiritual moment or time. If I’m honest with myself, this happens. I can be doing something very spiritual and God focused – like praising or worshiping or planing worship – and then sin enters its ugly head…there are some ways that it keeps popping in, it always seems to find a door. And if I’m really honest with myself, really honest, really honest – then I admit that sin is in every corner. There’s all kinds. Discontent, consumption, greed, lust, laziness, pride, wanting to be cool/popular/wanted/famous – all this being afraid that someone else will think less of me, because I’m so full of sin. And I am. But from what I know of others, they are too.

Not trying to point the finger at you, unless the you is me. Cause I’m not really writing to you as much as I’m writing to me.

One of the addictive behaviors that pulls me in is to stay relevant and edgy – to stay “cool”. If I’m really honest part of me just wants to be a cool Christian, edgy relevant informed missional or whatever. I want to be the man. This is pride knocking down my door. I think this is a temptation when we are part of this emergent/communal/visionary/missional/edgy part of the church, because at times it does feel very cool to be part of what’s happening on the fringes. But that can become an addiction when it becomes the focus or the end goal.

This is what Shane Claiborn said in his book “Irresistible Revolution”:

I guess everybody’s just trying to be cool. I remember the cool days. I used to be cool, chillin with the in-crowd of respectable United Methodists…but everything cool came to an abrupt end, my coolness ruined by a God who has everything backward.

He went on to say that even the pagans hang out with cool people. But God is directing us to be with the not-so-cool. He points out that our luke warm (an old-school way of saying “cool”) Christianity will be spit out of God’s mouth (Rev. 3:16).

But that’s me, in some ways I’m still a luke-warm “cool” Christian. But it’s never too late!

fonzie

the voice of adventure

I got this in an email today, the timing for me was perfect.

The Voice of Adventure (from Max Lucado, He Still Moves)

 

There is a rawness and a wonder to life. Pursue it. Hunt for it. Sell out to get it. Don’t listen to the whines of those who have settled for a second rate life and want you to do the same so they won’t feel guilty. Your goal is not to live long; it’s to live.Jesus says the options are clear. On one side there is the voice of safety. You can build a fire in the hearth, stay inside, and stay warm and dry and safe…

Or you can hear the voice of adventure – God’s adventure. Instead of building a fire in your hearth, build a fire in your heart. Follow God’s impulses. Adopt the child. Move overseas. Teach the class. Change careers. Run for office. Make a difference. Sure it isn’t safe, but what is?

sell your life and give it to the poor

I went to a men’s breakfast last Wednesday, before we left for Dallas. I was reminded that there are only two things I can take with me when I leave this place.

  1. My faith
  2. how I’ve loved (deeds)

Deeds will not allow me into heaven, but scripture is clear that God will reflect on my life and how I’ve loved.

We studied two texts this morning…the rich young ruler and the rich fool.

The rich young rulers life was his wealth. I wonder if I can insert my ‘life’ for ‘wealth’. So it would read like this…

Give up your life, sell it and give it to the poor.

Luke 17:33

Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.

shane claiborne – kensington fire June 2007 (it’s ok not to be safe 2 of 5)

This is blog #2 of 5 on the idea that ‘it’s ok not to be safe’ in the life of following Jesus. You can read the first one here.

I’ve been reading the book, Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. Shane lives in the Kensington section of north Philly. He helped start an organization called The Simple Way. There is nothing safe about Shane. And there is nothing safe about the way he follows Jesus. His book has been catching on around the country, mainly because it’s really good. But it’s also really hard to read – because a lot of what he says is true, and it’s hard to hear. He basically asserts that following Jesus is not safe, and it should absolutely look radical in our every day lives. He points out that we in the church have forgotten how to take Jesus’ words literally. He does, and he lives that way. I think that’s what the simple way is.

Back on August 8th, I went to visit the simple way to mark the day – because it ended a 6 month time of waiting on the Lord. You can read an explanation here. Right after I wrote the blog, I headed up to Potter Street and H Street to see the Simple Way with my own eyes. I had heard about the huge fire that hit the area right near the simple way. Here are some pictures I took that day…

H Street

Potter Street

rubble

lot

paris in kensington

Pictures say so much. I like the Paris Beauty Salon. The Simple Way is working to have the warehouse lot resurrected into a community park.

Shane said this about the recent fire in the Kensington section of Philly on June 20th, 2007

About 6 years ago we got that old building down the street, and it was in a shell just like it is now. And we believed that it could turn into a space that brings life where kids can play and create murals. And we did it. And we can do it again. We will continue to practice resurrection in the face of a world that continues to create destruction.

I wonder if I could/or would/or would ever raise my children in a place like this, if God called me to. Some how I doubt it. It’s just not safe.

brick i stole

I stole this brick to prove I was there. I’m such a dork.

forgiveness is an act of worship

I was reading “day 11” of Blessings of the Cross, a devotional written by several different writers. Day 11 was written by Anne Graham Lotz. She made a good point that we don’t forgive other people because they deserve it, we forgive because God commands us to, and as we forgive we give ourselves the opportunity to say to God, “Thank You for forgiving me.”

If we don’t completely forgive, we are limited in our true worship of God. In this way forgiveness becomes an act of worship.

She made this point:

Our forgiveness of others becomes an act of worship that we would not enter into except for Who He is and for the overwhelming debt of love we owe Him.

I’ve never connected worship and forgiveness like this. But I agree that sometimes the things that keep us from truly worshiping God are things we have not done, like forgiving.

Today is the 6 yr anniversary of the Sept. 11th attack. I remember exactly what was happening in my life that morning. I think this is called a Flashbulb memory. On that morning in 2001 I was teaching at Delcastle High School, and I had a room full of 30 9th graders. We put CNN on and watched together. I remember asking myself if watching this was appropriate for 9th graders (even though it was on in every class room). But looking back, I’m glad they got to see some of it unfold. I remember some of their reactions being so immature. But some of them really got it. It was interesting to see everyone react differently.


author – Terry Foester

I'm a family man at heart. I admit my world revolves around my wife Libby and our 3 hooligans...Eli, Eden and Silas. They are easy to love. I'm trying to learn to love the rest of you. I also like to ask questions.

Give Herman One Dollar

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