Friday, March 25, 2011


Gratitude is something I find myself thinking about again and again. It is such a wonderful practice and can do so much in our lives. One of the fruits of gratitude is healing. God can heal us through gratitude because we realize how much we have to be thankful for. This realization can breakthrough the hurts we have built up over the years by feeling slighted.

This feeling of being slighted and not having enough is one of the most powerful feelings the advertising industry uses to create desire in us and therefore build sales for their product. We are told that we will be happy if we buy it. We are told we deserve the new car. We are told we should have all our desires met all the time. When they are not met we build up feelings of resentment. This continual message creates a discontent and consumerist society.

Practicing gratitude helps us see and be thankful for what we have. It grounds us in the gift of what we have now. People who cultivate gratitude find they reap the fruit of contentment and joy. Practitioners of gratitude find that the world is a place where God meets their needs and frees them to help meet other needs as well. The experience of receiving everything as a gift to be thankful for is profoundly healing for the soul.

We practice gratitude by stopping and reflecting on the gift in the moment and the day. If you are reading this you have a computer, an Internet connection and can read. You are probably indoors or if outdoors using a laptop. If it rains you will be dry since electronics need to be dry. Notice all the things to be grateful for in just reading a blog. The grateful person doesn't let those things slide by, they are noticed and a silent "thank you" is said.

Journaling things each day for which one is thankful is another way to connected to this practice and if a person is in that list try to communicate to them your gratitude. Try each day to simply sit and be thankful for the gifts that come. Even in the tough things we can learn and grow and those things too can help us grow in gratitude.

As you begin this practice or fine tune your practice you will notice that joy increases, trust deeps and there is a sense of being loved.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Currently I am preaching through the book of Matthew and I am not preaching on fasting (Matthew 6:16-18), instead I am preaching on serving Christ rather than money (Matthew 6: 19-24). Therefore, I have written a little piece on fasting that I thought I would post.

Fasting is abstaining from something that is good or normal for spiritual purposes. Fasting in the classic and biblical sense is abstaining from food and drink for a specific period of time. The gift of fasting is that it helps a person become more aware of their own inner issues (anger, greed, loneliness, boredom) and also become more attune to the Lord. Fasting gives us the space and time to deal with some of these issues and to grow in our prayer life which accompanies our time of fasting. When we fast we are feasting with God through prayer, bible reading and awareness of His presence.

Fasting doesn’t have to be from food only. For example, we can practice a media fast. This would be a day where we would not watch TV, surf the Internet, play video games etc… Often we will find that a media fast is more difficult than a food fast. We live in such a media rich culture and are taught that media is essential to life. What we learn from fasting is that God in Christ is the source of our life and that there is real strength and power that flows from the Lord. A media fast also gives us more time for relationships because the time we normally spend in front of the screen is now available to deepen our relationship with God and our neighbor.

While fasting might be currently out of style it is still a powerful and essential spiritual practice.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Grace is a radical way to live because we live life rooted in love. This love has its roots in the heart of Christ and the blossom of this love are the scars that mark the hands of Jesus. These hands reach out to us in love, mercy and forgiveness. The marks on his hands are scars of grace freely given to all who will receive.

We are not asked to get better to hold these hands. We are not asked to perform well to hold these hands. We are simply asked to reach out and hold these hands and to trust that holding them is enough. For to hold his hands is to trust His love and to allow him to lead us.

Living by grace means that we don't have to have our life figured out because our life is being held in love and we know that the One who walked among us is walking with us. The joy of the journey is resting in Christ's love and letting this love be the source of our self understanding, hope, and call to life.

This call to life is to live more fully into this love. We pray because we are met in love. We read our bibles because in those pages we meet the Christ who loves us. We share in worship to glorify the One who calls us his beloved. We serve our neighbor because Christ loves our neighbor and his love has created love for our neighbor is our hearts too.

Grace is a radical and wonderful way to live.

Friday, March 11, 2011

We are fine

Just wanted to let everyone know we are fine. The atoll we live on is an old volcano and we live on the rim of volcano and our lagoon is the crater of this ancient volcano. That means that on the ocean side the walls drop thousands of feet into the deep, rather than sloping like an island or continents. Therefore it is not possible to us to get a tsunami. The energy can't build a wall of water like on slopped islands. Our tide rises maybe a foot or so but nothing like what is happening in other places.

We did evacuate last night from 1000pm - 1220am to second and third story buldings to be safe, which is good. The kids are tired today as is most of the island.

Our outgoing lines are experiencing issues so we can't make off island calls but we can receive calls and email/internet is really backed up. I am thankful to get this out. I have been trying for over an hour.

We are all fine here, no damage just some inconvience which is nothing really.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." --Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)

We live in a world full of striving, achieving, performing, all the while wondering if we have been good enough or smart enough. We live on the edge, afraid a mistake will be too costly to recover from. A lifetime of this is exhausting and it leaves us fragile, fractured and angry.

Learning from Jesus brings rest. The path of a disciple is fundamentally about rest because grace brings rest. We receive grace (unmerited favor) from Jesus through the cross. The cross destroys all our pretense about striving, achieving, and performing for God so that we can simply just be with God. The One who could judge us in Christ doesn't judge us and therefore we have freedom and rest. We are now freed to simply be with God.

The path of a disciple is learning to rest in God and then work from that rest. This perhaps is the heart of the Sabbath, resting. We could think about our spiritual disciplines as expressions of Sabbath. Bible study isn't something we do to prove to God or other Christians that we are spiritual, it is a time to simply be with God.

Prayer becomes giving our attention and cares to God and experiencing God's attention in our lives. Fellowship is about being with others who are experiencing the renewal of life through the easy yoke of Christ.

This is a good way to live. This way brings profound contentment, joy and peace. As we discover rest in Christ we finally experience love at the deeper levels of our being and love is what allows us to rest. We find that all is held in love and is destined for love. For within the kingdom all is well and we can trust the King with ourselves and his path is life.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I was talking with someone the other day about how it can be hard to move and relocate to a whole new place and they asked me in light of that if I regret having moved to Kwaj. I thought that was a good and pointed question and I told them that I don't regret moving here and that I am thankful for the opportunities we have had since coming here.

I could have listed all the things that we are thankful for or all the things we are learning since coming here but more importantly than that I don't regret moving since we moved in response to God's calling on our lives.

That is the key for me, we sensed God's call and we moved to a new location, one that can't be described no matter how many pictures or Google maps one looks at. So often we can close our lives to God's work. We get in a comfort zone and get in a routine and then stop looking and listening to the ways God is moving in our lives. Rarely is God's calling to a place 4500 miles from where we are living.

Most of the time it is to new ways of thinking or being. It is starting to understand our lives in a new a fresh way. We begin to understand ourselves in light of God's love, grace and action in our lives. Sometimes this is beginning to see the freedom or wholeness God longs to bring. Maybe God wants us to let go of things that aren't important or aren't good for us. When we are open and available to God we begin to see and experience that God goes ahead of us and prepares new paths and new adventures. There is such health and vitality in this way of living and we avoid getting "stuck". We will miss all of that if we close ourselves off because of fear and worry; we can trust the God who gaves himself on the cross for us.

It is good to open our lives to God's action and to live with open hands and an open heart.