Good Lord what happened? One second I was ready to take on the world (or at least Normal Heights) the next I was playing online poker 4 hours a day and not leaving the house. OK. Online poker is over. Just sapping up too much of my time and my creativity. I was really doing God a huge disservice. If you can do that to God.
I really do believe. I do. It’s so hard for me to keep myself away from all the other temptations in this world. Satan finds subtler and subtler ways to keep me from You. I mean doing drugs and drinking and being promiscuous are pretty obvious. Time sucking activities like online poker and Facebook and whatnot are so not as obvious. Sorry Jesus. I really do love You. I really want to live my life dedicated to You.
Quitting the online poker should help. It would be kind of funny if only it wasn’t. As absurd as this sounds, I’m kinda grieving it right now. I need to get back into reading, I don’t know, how about that Bible everyone’s always talking about. I need to get back into, hmmmm…. serving people. That’s a good one. I need to get back my children into my life. I think that they could use me when I’m living sanely.
Anything else? Hey, if you actually read this let me know by leaving a comment. I could use some encouragement. Thanks!
Cuz things are gonna start popping off. I’m probably a little manic right now (that’s not always a bad thing) but I got’s some ideas. Some big ideas. Big ideas in a humble kind of setting. See, the thing is, I gotta get rid of this ego that eats up all the goodness inside of me. The ego that stops me from laying my life down for the only One that really matters. Sometimes I think my prayer should just be Lord, take everything away from me. Strip me of all my vanity and pretension. My selfishness. My disease of me, me, me. I get close and then I fall back into it.
It? Lust, greed, sarcasm, introspection, gluttony, all the things that let me obsess on myself and my needs. Not the needs of those who I could help. Definitely not what Jesus has intended for me. It’s like reaching out for that brass ring on the merry go round. I can’t quite reach it. I get close. I can almost touch it. My fingers graze it’s cool metal as it’s pulled away. It reminds me of how far I still have to go.
Lent’s been a great reminder of how much a slave I am to the things of this world. I think that I’ve read my Bible like once in the last 12 days. This with me giving up poker, eating out, picking up running and the like. I’m praying a little more but I’ll be honest I’m not the best at prayer. It’s a struggle for me to stop, shut down my head for a minute and communicate with God. The good thing is that I do feel His hand on my life in so many ways now.
I can see Christ’s hand in real life personal relationships that I have with people. My wife, my friends, the people I work with. I really am a different person 90% of the time. Most of the time without having to think about it. Situations where I used to just blow up I’ve been able to listen and even be compassionate to someone else’s feelings that differ from mine.
Anyway, most of y’all know that I belong to Adams Avenue Crossing. We had a great table talk yesterday that really made me come away inspired. It started off kinda discouraging, feeling as if we haven’t made much progress. We’ve been waiting to hear from God what He would like for us to do. I don’t think many of us felt that we had heard that much. After listening to TC and Sam all of a sudden I realized that God has been screaming at us and that I (can’t speak for others) was too frightened to listen to what He wants me to do. Because if I listen I’m going to have to sacrifice my precious time. To listen I’m going to have to forge relationships with people I don’t even know yet. To listen means I’m going to have to pick up my cross and follow. To listen means I’m going to have to lay down my life to gain one.
My problem has been thinking that, well, honestly, there isn’t a lot of people looking for help in Normal Heights. Then TC I believe nailed it on the head for me. If I can’t help people in this area that I’ve decided I want to help what makes me think that I can do it anywhere else. This is EXACTLY where God wants me to be. I’ve got to overcome my own damn self and start reaching out to people. There are people that need help but they might not be able to TELL me that to my face. But what if I put a flyer up in Lestat’s or Cafe Cabaret offering to help people? Mow a lawn, tutor a kid, pick up a yard, give someone a ride, type a resume, there’s all sorts of things I can do to give someone a hand. To be more than just a ministry of presence but to become a ministry of helping and loving on the people of Normal Heights. What better way of being present that being present in people’s lives.
I know I’m probably the far flung dude in our group. The thing is, I see people that are peripheral to our group doing great things. I mean Aaron from Hope Unlimited is out feeding the homeless in downtown once a month. How incredible is that? All it takes is one guy with an idea. One person helping one other person. All it takes is just to go ahead and do it. If you are gonna pray for me then pray that I can put down my own crap long enough that I can try to get rolling. That’s what I want. Please pray.
I would never have thought that I could get convicted by a poem from Charles Bukowski, a guy who’s life and writings influenced a lot of my life, probably for the worse. Until now. I found the poem in a post by this guy, who has a pretty good blog. Check it out.
The Genius Of The Crowd
there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average
human being to supply any given army on any given day
and the best at murder are those who preach against it
and the best at hate are those who preach love
and the best at war finally are those who preach peace
those who preach god, need god
those who preach peace do not have peace
those who preach peace do not have love
beware the preachers
beware the knowers
beware those who are always reading books
beware those who either detest poverty
or are proud of it
beware those quick to praise
for they need praise in return
beware those who are quick to censor
they are afraid of what they do not know
beware those who seek constant crowds for
they are nothing alone
beware the average man the average woman
beware their love, their love is average
average seeks average
but there is genius in their hatred
there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you
to kill anybody
not wanting solitude
not understanding solitude
they will attempt to destroy anything
that differs from their own
not being able to create art
they will not understand art
they will consider their failure as creators
only as a failure of the world
not being able to love fully
they will believe your love incomplete
and then they will hate you
and their hatred will be perfect
like a shining diamond
like a knife
like a mountain
like a tiger
their finest art
Henry Charles Bukowski
Thanks again Tim for turning me on to a fantastic poem.
Faith without Good Deeds Is Dead
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God.[f] Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. 23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”[g] He was even called the friend of God.[h] 24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.
25 Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. 26 Just as the body is dead without breath,[i] so also faith is dead without good works. James 2:14-26
… I think this must be God’s Christmas present to me.
It’s a word that was thrown around a lot this weekend at our weekly bible study at Lestat’s and at table talk the very next day. We were studying Jesus’ prayer for Himself, His disciples, and the people that would come after. You can read it in John 17.
Jesus prayed to sanctify Himself so that his apostles would be sanctified. “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” – John 17:19.
Sanctify: to make holy, consecrate.
I think it’s a prayer that I need to say. Really glad TC put up his version of the prayer over at the AAC blog. Another part of the definition was “set apart”. I don’t always feel holy. I struggle with how much a part of this world I allow myself to roll around in the muck with. I feel more like “struggling to free myself of my worldly desires and wants sometimes when it’s convenient for me” than set apart.
This particular blog is somewhat of a bitch also. It was a lot easier when I was reading Luke to get fired up about social justice and the poor than when I have to look inward and beyond when I’m studying John. Probably explains the lack of posts lately.
I’m trying to decide what I need to give up to feel sanctified. I know that I am. Jesus prayed it. That doesn’t mean that I always “feel” it. Unfortunately, thanks to some rather “poopy” life choices my thoughts are an amalgam of lust, Jesus, poker, compassion, vengeance, greed, faith, fear, hope, depravity and so on and so forth. I have to be very intentional about my walk or I fall off into the ditch fairly quickly. Things like Facebook and twitter really feed my already inflated ego and my selfishness. Don’t you want to know what I’m doing RIGHT NOW? Of course you do!
My decision was to cut off most of the electronic media so that maybe I could start having actual face to face human interaction again. First the cell phone. Then the internet at home. That lasted about a week and Letty turned the internet on at home again. And here I am again, pecking away at the keyboard.
I like blogging and reading blogs. That’s going to stay and if anything probably expand. It’s good for me to put what I’m thinking down on paper and I need a creative outlet.
Facebook and Twitter, drastically reduced. Except to keep up with my friends doings and whatnot. No more mafia wars or any of the rest of that crap. A week away from it and I hardly missed it. Maybe an occasional update just to let you know what I’m up to and to exult in another Chargers victory.
The bottom line is that I want to feel sanctified. Holy. Whatever that feels like. Here’s another great part of the prayer:
“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” John 17:15-18.
Lord, please sanctify me in the Truth. In You. That’s my prayer for today.