Wednesday, August 29, 2007

taking time

Have you ever stopped to look at the clouds? I mean really stopped. Gone out to your yard, laid back on the grass, looked up and just watched. If you haven't, it's something I highly recommend.

Monday is typically my day off. My sabbath. And I usually spend it alone. I pack a backpack w/snacks, water, books, a bible, etc. and runaway to someplace beautiful like Stoney Creek. It's my day to connect with God on a deeper level, and prepare my mind, heart, and soul for the week's activities. This past Monday was unique in that God seemed especially close, and there were moments when it seemed like a veil was lifted from my eyes and I saw the true beauty of this world. It's not something I can adequately explain. If you haven't experienced it, you won't understand.

We move too fast through this world and the life it encompasses. We miss so much. So many little things, little works of art that speak volumes about their Creator. When's the last time you stopped and looked at a rose? Studied it? Fully took in it's beautiful intricacy. It's a small but elaborate design. The same is true of nature as a whole. Tree bark, insects, leaves, other flowers, fish, vines. It's no wonder David was captivated by nature. When you're surrounded by it long enough, and are still enough, something in you changes. The rhythm of your spirit changes. The tone of your soul, like the tuning of a guitar, is restored to it's proper pitch.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

for all the things I love about my work, here's one thing that I don't: it's lonely.

Writing is a lonely, solitary act. Most of the time, I truly enjoy sitting down and crafting an article that's good, descriptive, and informative. I get a great sense of accomplishment from the finished product. But the process is often hard for me. I'm a bit of an introvert, but not so much so that the hours of quiet solitude don't start to wear on me. I often feel isolated. Disconnected. Or outright lonely. Not just lonely, but alone.

One of my top strengths in the StrengthsFinders test was Relator. Essentially it means that close relationships are important to me. One of the "suggestions" from the test was to make regular time for friends, no matter how busy my schedule gets. "We're in this together" is the motto of the Relator. I like that motto. It's the way I think things should be. And time with my friends reinforces the feeling that we're all working towards something together. The hard part is that friends don't always have time. We're busy people. It's not an excuse, just reality. So I have to learn how to stay productive and energetic even when I haven't spent any significant amount of time with the people I feel closest to.

Sounds needy doesn't it.
I know.
But whether it's needy or "just the way that I am", it is - in fact - just the way that I am. Some people like the idea of being a lone wolf. I'm not one of those people.
Unfortunately, my work forces me - more often than I would like - to behave like a lone wolf.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

it's really not so bad

This week, I and the rest of the Genesis staff attended the Willow Creek Leadership Summit at a satellite location in Grosse Pointe. I wasn't very excited to go. I have a hard time with conferences in general because so often all they're about is the emotional high. But... this is Willow, and I should have known better. The Summit was incredible.

I missed some of the sessions, which I'm bummed about. (The downfall of being a part-time staff person while having another full-time job.) But what I did see was awesome. There was definitely emotion. The opening dramatic sequence made me cry, as did parts of Bill Hybels' first talk. But it wasn't hyped-up emotion. It was emotion borne of passion. Passion for the Church, for the lost, and for my calling as it relates to both. I haven't had time to process yet. That will happen tomorrow (three cheers for the Sabbath!), but I know enough to know that I've been changed.

I was renewed, challenged, shaken, encouraged, confirmed, and inspired.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

i like the church

every Tuesday night, a church in Utica hosts a class on healing prayer. At one point, I was going every week, but life got busy and I stopped making time for it. Tonight I went back for the first time in over a month.

When I walked in the door, I was immediately greeted by a smell that always reminds me of my grandparent's attic. A smell of musty old wood that hints at something solid and promises wisdom for anyone who has ears to hear.

Most of the people who attend the class have been followers of Jesus longer than I've been alive, and they do indeed speak words of wisdom. Words of wisdom, knowledge, truth, prophecy and faith. They are funny, joyful, steady, honest, and powerful teachers of God's truth. They are also odd. Not individually per se, but collectively. Though there are usually 40-50 people in attendance each week, only a handful are from that church. Most come from other churches, and so I find myself rubbing shoulders with Baptists, Catholics, Presbyterians, Pentacostals, Methodists, and even some non-denoms like myself. It's one of the few places I can go and see God's Church as it was intended. No religious or denominational divisions. No arguments over doctrine or theology. Just God's Church being God's Church. Knowing and accepting our differences, but also knowing and accepting the truth that we all have Jesus in common and we are all brothers and sisters in Him.

I delight in seeing this microcosm of what God's Church can be. On more than one occasion, God has used this humble gathering to remind me of His vision for His Church. A Church that is truly unified. Not one in which the members simply tolerate one another, but truly love and enjoy each other. The folks who attend this class have manged to make that vision a reality. How do the rest of us do it?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

the new crib

yes, I called it a crib. :)
I'm finally moved into my new place, and it's awesome. Here's some pics:
This is our living room. It's got hardwood floors and bay windows.

Our dining room has hardwood floors and double french doors that open onto our deck. It's great in the morning to open them up and let the morning breeze come in.

This is one of my favorite things about our house. In the dining room there are two built in shelf units. As you can see, they're painted blue (dark blue, actually, the pic's a little deceiving) and have glass shelves.

This is our kitchen. It's painted a fun, bright yellow - which I like. :)

Here's the other view of our kitchen. We have a cool island which is great. It'll be a great place for people to hang out when we're making dinner. :)

Our bathroom is sweet!

We have a bathtub!! :)

My bedroom. Unfinished, as you can see. :)

It's a great place. Right on the edge of downtown Royal Oak. I can walk to the Genesis office from my house.
And my new roommate is great, too. Mariam and I have known each other for a while, which is cool. I think we'll get along well. :)
There will be a housewarming party soon. :D