you are welcome under my skin

lines

Feb 28

Fault Lines

There was a great crack, my body shook
Punctuation fell out of the book.

While the fault lines of my mind
Were not kind to me

Something divine and deep
Was shaken free

And broke rules about who
I had to be.


Feb 21

Here

Here I come hearing
A hand on the curtain as I pray
While praying on the other side,
A hand of yours is laid.

Both of us are begging for a bone
And running way beyond the endzone
Working so hard,
Working so damn hard

We can’t remember food
Not the sight of it, or it’s taste, or smell
Let us not leave in the hunger or wanting
That we know so well.

Hungry together, humbly we come
With the scratching of a paw, up against the screen door
Calling out foul,
Calling out for fun.

And in the quiet of our voices
Our thoughts we uplift
Calling to our source
With a petition, and a gift.


Dec 6

Every day comes lunging
It grabs me by the lapels
While I try to find the floor with my feet
And make sense of each no-exit street

And my phone might go unanswered
But I won’t take the blame
The late nights burn the ledgers
But they won’t touch my name


Nov 23

This is last Sunday morning’s sermon from Glynn Carpenter.

"What Happened to Godzone?"

A solid and honest challenge to the Church of NZ asking what have we done with the Gospel in our nation.
Leading up to the election where we are so pressured to make political decisions, it is very easy to forget the role of the Church in providing love and light for our nation.
We should not be satisfied with “private religion.” But instead be encouraged that our God equips us to serve our families, friends and communities.


Nov 15

Journal entry 02/09/11

Today I finally got around to typing out some thoughts that came out of a journal entry I made in September. I’m calling it Miracles and Turtles.

It has become more and more apparent to me that our strength and wisdom in ourselves has got God a little bored.
Several weeks ago I was told a story about a man who was going grocery shopping with his daughter. While they were shopping it had begun to rain, and so as they shopped the Dad prayed that the rain would stop so that they could get back to their car without getting wet.
As they went on shopping, got to the checkout and paid for the groceries, they found that it was still raining and they left supermarket, the father confused and dismayed at a God who apparently could not or would not provide for him and his daughter. He was genuinely taken aback that his faith did not stop the rain.

Now my first reaction to this story is that surely there are many people in the same city or suburb or even in that supermarket who were praying for the rain to continue or were thanking God for the rain.

My second thought in reaction to this story is that if this guy had really wanted to keep himself and his daughter dry as they left the supermarket he would have seen the answer to his prayer in the umbrellas available for sale, and if not there, then in the countless plastic bags that would only require a few holes punched through them and they would become wearable, waterproof ponchos – and surely that’s heaps of fun to do with your kid in the supermarket!
And it was as I was explaining this story to another friend of mine that I realised there are probably many prayers that God has already answered, if only we would dare take action in the direction of our prayers, and match our faith with deeds.
It’s kind of like asking someone to pass you the gravy when it’s right next to you.

And all this thought was thrown in alongside my trend of thinking for 2011, which seems to be asking questions of God and desiring to know why and how the poorer nations of the world seem to have powerful, emphatic displays of God’s love in their Churches and communities. Stories of great modern miracles seem to come almost exclusively out of areas of hardship. There is no doubt that many around the world are seeing miracles and healing in the name of Jesus, but it seems so few of them are witnessed in our part of the globe.
And so I wonder, have we devised our ‘own’ miracles in a sense? Have we so provided for ourselves through technology, science, politics and products that we live in a kind of prideful bubble, with no immediate ‘need’ for God, because we believe in salvation and comfort through what we provide for ourselves? Pride is a state of the heart that God seems to have no time for, biblically speaking.
People in the Bible who had hard hearts and were proud made themselves inaccessible to God, by their own choice.
It’s a recurring theme in the Bible that basically “God rejects the proud, and gives grace to the humble.”

But what if pride was not only a heart issue? What if pride in our resources, economy and technology resulted in the kind of hard hearts that make our practical living untouchable to God? Perhaps spiritual pride has practical implications.

This morning I was reading Psalm 147, which speaks significantly of God’s care for the weak and forgotten – another recurring theme in scripture – and it made me think, maybe we simply are not ‘weak’ enough or ‘forgotten’ enough to harbour the interest of our saviour?

Hardly!

Let me suggest the following.
Our weaknesses, if we dare to acknowledge them at all, are largely hidden, ignored and downplayed.
The weaknesses and evil that can’t help but be evident in the third world are submitted to God and laid before Him. But our weaknesses?
Our weaknesses that we scarcely dare discover are hidden and smothered by pampering first world wealth.
Funny.

The third world, whose miracles and whose Jesus I am so jealous of are ultimately the people on this planet who are most humbled before God, not only in their hearts but in their very livelihoods are made utterly vulnerable before God and are lifted up to Him in prayer daily.
But the first world? The world of wealth where you and I live? Of this place I don’t even need to write. We all know about our distractions of wealth, advertising etc. etc.

“I can’t wait for the weekend”
“This song always makes me feel better”
“I can’t function until my first cup of coffee”

This are valid needs. But they are on the verge, in my opinion. On the verge of taking a place that I think God ought to take in our lives. He is our comfort and our refuge. We need to dare to make our weaknesses known to Him and be vulnerable to him. That is how he works in his people. Have you read the beatitudes lately? Who inherits the world? The meek. Who inherits the kingdom of heaven? The poor in spirit.

True power is not in the coffee. True comfort is not in the song. True rest is not in the weekend.

After generations of development in the western world our means of comfort is deeply entrenched. We live in a protective shell, where our weaknesses, vulnerabilities and our flaws are buried deep beneath a comforting shell of good things that have become idols in our abuse of them. Useful, attractive products become objects of obsession and distraction, that we hope can comfort us or at least hide our imperfections and make us like people on billboards or on TV.

But the truth is, as strong and convincing as our shells might be, God wants to reach us. Deeply.
God wants to reach us daily, and he can break through, no doubt. God has had a lot of practice humbling people, I can testify to that myself.
God will humble these wealthy nations. God will humble us individually. And here is where turtles come into it.

We are like turtles with that shell of comforting pride on our backs, with all our gooey weaknesses kept inside and our soft bellies hidden away, close to the ground. And that shell keeps God out just as much as it keeps our weakness in.
And so I’m of the thinking that if we want to see God work in our lives we’ve got to submit our shells. If we do not make ourselves humble, we will be made humble. Those who will not give up their shells will have them dashed, in other words.

If we face our Lord, exposed and vulnerable before him, if we discover our weaknesses and bring them to our God in love and repentance, then we make ourselves available to God, and we will see miracles as he makes our weaknesses into our strengths and we will see God move in power in accordance with His Word.

Sure, listen to that song. Yes, let’s eat our comfort food. But know it as God’s provision - and don’t let it be an object of lust, instead praise God for it, in it and through it. And honestly, even though we can honour God and thank him for what we have, I think we need some first world fasting so that we can get a true perspective of this whole thing.

I don’t think I’ve figured out why there’s seems to be more miracles in poorer developing nations of the world. But at least maybe in thinking about it I can find myself a little more humble and see a little more of God.


Dream #2

Dream #2


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