Prayers for the day

For Joy:

God our heavenly Father,
when the thought of you
wakes in our hearts,
let its awakening
not be like a startled bird
that flies about in fear.
Instead, let it be like a child
waking from sleep
with a heavenly smile. (Søren Kierkegaard)

For Live-Dead:

From an Eritrean believer to a missionary: “Ask our brothers and sisters to pray for us; not that we should be free from this persecution, but that we will stand up boldly under it and proclaims Christ as we should.”

True crisis

We insist on panic in areas that don’t need it. Ebola in America, for instance. We have completely ignored the heavier issue of West Africa… but what is that to us?

While we panic over a handful possibly contracting the virus, we continue to ignore larger issues.

ISIS is still tearing through Syria and Iraq and is bent on destruction.

If there are weightier things to pray about and, if you insist, be panicked about, you might want to give that some consideration. Personally, I’d start with prayer and simply ignore the panic.

Do we truly EXPECT transformation?

Do we honestly expect transformation in the life of the believer? Do we walk in a way that brings instruction?

Would we hesitate at Paul’s bold instruction these days? Would WE say these words:

As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. (1 Thess. 4:1-2)

Would we be ready to speak specific instruction into the life of another believer, even if it risked the possibility of them saying in return, “What business is it of yours?”

Do we EXPECT transformation?

The church is a mess

“The churches of Revelation show us that churches are not Victorian parlors where everything is always picked up and ready for guests. They are messy family rooms. Entering a person’s house unexpectedly, we are sometimes met with a barrage of apologies. St. John does not apologize. Things are out of order, to be sure, but that is what happens to churches that are lived in.” — Eugene Peterson, Reverse Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination.

The need for spiritual community

“People are God’s method. The church is looking for better methods: God is looking for better people.” — EM Bounds

We get so fooled into trying build a better mousetrap in ministry rather than taking people God gives us and seeing the image of Christ formed in them. God consistently took people in the Bible who were in lousy shape and built them into “better” people. All he needed was availability.

Two things we need to utilize in our own lives as we think about community:

1. Spiritual mentors.
Those who have been “down the road” a bit and can show us the way.

2. Spiritual friends.
Those are roughly in the same place we are, so the frustrations and triumphs are similar. The transparency is better. You can build a relationship that feels more real as you get to know each other.

The key in both of these relationships is TIME. We need to dedicate the time to meeting, to listening, to discussing, and to practicing. We must give ourselves to the practice of formation in community.

San Francisco bans a song

In the spirit of baseball superstition, the city of San Francisco will ban the Lorde song “Royals” from the airwaves for the duration of getting spanked by the KC Royals in the World Series. (Just wishful thinking on that last part.)

Hey, FRISCO! (I know you hate that… so I’m saying it.) The song isn’t even about the Royals! DUH! It was inspired by George Brett… but the singer is 17 years old! What in the world does SHE know?!?!

I’m swearing off sourdough bread for the next two weeks in protest.

And here is a parody of the song that actually talks about… you know… the REAL Royals.

Here is to a (hopefully) fun World Series!