for george floyd and all of us

not what i signed up for

this is not what i signed up for
this is not the way it should be
this is not what i voted for

injustice from
those who know justice
maybe they dont

but george
is an awful lot like me
human and divine like you, Lord

i wanted a nation of free peoples
but look at where we are
see what we have become

the spider spread its web over the area
waiting to cull
catching the biggest prey

reminds me of Jesus
pharisees rigging the jury
the ones who decide the fate

this is not to see
this is not to be
my eyes

this time 4 officers
for Jesus
a crowd

each of us with sins to hide
an officer with too much force against blacks
a black who has seen that force

the one who knew the spider’s heart
and could offer the best testimony
against the spider

what IS truth
“it is as you have said”
“i can”t breathe”

innocent of requiring death
not denying power
the power to save or destroy

killed for the fear of enclosed spaces
an officer unable to de-escalate
please, sir, i cant breathe

the gloating over the prey
parading around on display
for all to see

the crown of thorns
mocking
who will save you now

George, the one slain
is a little bit like me
i could interact with authority

Big Lesson from “Little” Jude

Build yourself up.

Jude — Ah-a-al-l-l-l-l-l of it

Jude is tucked away at the close of the New Testament, just in front of Revelation.  When perusing through the Bible don’t blink or you’ll miss it.  It is 1 chapter in length, sincerely compelling us to “contend for our Faith”.  But the word “contend” is used in many translations.  It is defined as an ongoing effort, a struggle — I think upwards or uphill against gravity like climbing a mountain, with thorn bushes and obstacles along the path — towards a goal.  This goal is knowable, defined and is obtainable, reachable.

Jude’s unction for writing is to preserve a genuine Faith, the True Faith.  Giving examples of how God rewards the faithful he then begins a laundry list of worldly ideas.  Sometimes to know what it is we a talking about we take a look at what it is not.  I wish we could do without this but to know the True Faith it is sometimes good to remind ourselves what to stay away from.  This litany seems to drag on but verse 17 turns a corner.

In verse 20 you look to yourself and in prayer in the Holy Spirit you “strengthen” yourself.  Do not turn aside but keep the goal in mind.  Continue to tread towards the summit.

To carry this Faith you must know what the task is.  And use the Faith you already possess.  Could it be you are honing your Faith?  Like a pilot of an airplane flying to a destination making course changes along the way.  At takeoff the heading is established but nudges are needs to stay on course.  The Faith is summed up pretty well in Matthew 5.

Another practical application in these Covid 19 times is to watch yourself and stay healthy.  Watch how often you expose yourself to catching this disease or spread it to others.  I live in New York State and Gov. Cuomo has become the herald for lowering the transmission of Covid.  I applaud this attitude, others do not, which is their right to choose.  But for you: you take responsibility for your health and the health of people around you.

In Him,
Jeff

Covid Outbreak – We’re at War!

Can you see we are at war with the adversary tiny?  The “unseen enemy” is upon us.  Watch our flanks.  No, the enemy is directly ahead.  It’s within our ranks, one of us has succumbed.  What are we to do now.  Don’t let down your guard.

CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!!  (Thank you, Professor Moody.)

But, maybe, the true fight is inside ourselves.

To be at peace with myself and God.

Continue reading “Covid Outbreak – We’re at War!”

talk about your social distancing. . .*

“I am alone now, truly alone, and absolutely isolated from any known life.  I am it.” Astronaut Michael Collins, Apollo 11

Remember Astronaut Michael Collins on the first moonwalk 50-years ago?  No, I don’t either. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Actually I do.  About every 2-hours Michael Collins, in the Command Module, Columbia, flew over Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong after their descent to the lunar surface in the Lunar Lander, Eagle, and were the astronauts who first walked on the moon.

. . . and one plus God only knows what on this side.  I feel this powerfully — not as fear or loneliness — but as awareness, anticipation, satisfaction, confidence, almost exultation.  I like the feeling.

Let’s backtrack a little.  3-Days earlier the Columbia crew fired their main engine, for TLI, that is Translunar Injection.  This ‘burn’ set their trajectory away from orbiting earth in favor of traveling to the moon.  That is: they pointed the Columbia to travel to where the moon’s position would be 3-days (approximately 40-degrees) ahead of the moon’s present position.  You have to plan ahead, you know.

I have fortunately lived in the space-era, the ‘space race’ — ‘we HAD to beat those Russians’ to the moon, no second choice in the matter!  Amazing what a little ‘friendly competition’ can accomplish.  President Kennedy said in outlining the mission to go to the moon AND RETURN safely, “. . .not because it is easy, but because it is hard.” Continue reading “talk about your social distancing. . .*”

Pray: for Covid 19, itself, to flatline

The book of James has much to say about deepening prayer.

I am cautious when combining these particular Bible verses in this way because they relate independently.  Chapter 1 is about how we think.  Chapter 4 is on material goods.  Chapter 5’s subject matter is on  remission of sins.  Never-the-less. . .

 

I am asking you and those whom you share this with to pray the Corona virus outbreak out of existence.

1:5-6  Wisdom can be gained by asking in Faith

To me, ‘Wisdom’ that comes from God gives us hope and a backbone to seek God and His strength.

4:1-3  If you fail to ask you just might end up with nothing.

The simple truth is we want stuff without asking God first.  And without asking God we turn to our own way of accomplishing our goals — by massaging our passions.

Thus, I am asking you and those whom you share this with to pray the Corona virus outbreak out of existence.  Let it flatline.  Let God do His work.  Let us be aware that people are of much greater value than money.

As James 5:16 says the prayer of the Faithful can accomplish things with its great power.

-Jeff
(obviously, paraphrasings are mine)

Covid Prayer this April 14th

I would set in motion a prayer for healing.  I have been pondering this for a week and the wording for what I want to express is a little evasive to me.

Sometimes it is worth defining something by what it is not:  the economy, travel restrictions, possibly even life or death issues.

But it is about you, as you take God’s Peace out of the box, to grip it.

Allow it to grip you.

You are on God’s mind.

 

Submit to Each Other (Become One)

The Jesus – God relationship is what our relationship (you and me) is to reflect.

Ephesians 5:21

Also Philippians 2:3
John 17, verses 11 and 22
Romans 14:5,

Submission: one of the more difficult areas of Faith.  Submit to a group, organization, individual person, God alone.  What is God’s will?  How is it qualified, quantified?  Confusion and competition when so many people and organizations want our attention, obedience.

We need to focus on Christ.

I foster the personal side of our relationship with God; where God communicates with us (substitute the word “me” for “us”) directly, unencumbered, open, raw — a relationship available for believers and non-believers, on an individual level.  (Admittedly, it would be hard for an unbeliever to have this personal thing going on while not believing).

I consider this relationship:

higher – it lives in Heaven above Earthly standards
more important – directly influencing
deeper – the most meaningful
our story – what we were meant for
further – wears better, like some old tattered jeans
more encompassing – a relationship without bounds
beyond – not held by Earthly bonds

Example:  As a Christian Musician, an ability not mentioned very much in this blog, I run across songs and instrumentals, or let’s say, ‘some melodies with words attached’ and ‘melodies without words’.  I am inspired by both! and I know both would be inspiring to Christians in the context of worship.  Yet when meeting with church musicians and pastors, I usually discover a much different view of which piece of music is “inspiring”, with the vast majority are “melodies with words attached”.  It causes me to wonder if we are losing the art of instrumental music in our worship services?

Do I listen to what I deem an “urging”, the call of the “Spirit within”, or not?

Continue reading “Submit to Each Other (Become One)”

Put Others First

But can you truly, always put others ahead of yourself?

Philippians 2:3

This passage reveals a mindset we are to nurture: place other people higher than yourself.

An intriguing principle, and a virtue residing in the arena of a “matured” Faith, carrying a high degree of difficulty because to achieve God’s standard, you attach reigns to yourself.

But can you truly, always rank others ahead of yourself?

 

Loving, Thanking, & Assuming

These 3 aspects of the Christian faith have been on my mind recently.  So I will help us to be mindful about all 3.

We need to check ourselves every now and then to make sure what we are saying and doing have perception as loving acts.  Sometimes in the way we treat other people we say things or do things and the other people don’t see, may not perceive this as a caring act.  We can mean well but they may not take it that way.

To be thankful for everything is an overwhelming aspect of the Christian Faith.  It’s difficult to be thankful when things are not going, or at least you perceive they’re not going well.  In this world we suffer losses and setbacks, heart aches and failures, but move your attitude to a place where thankfulness arises.

And the third item, this morning: assuming, can catch us off guard.  We know that other people think differently than I / we think: have different terminology, define words differently.  But it is fairly easy for me to go through my daily life thinking that other people, since they’re doing the same things — get out of bed, eat breakfast, go to work, buy groceries, meet with friends or family, go to church, watch a movie, read a book — are gathering the same ideas that I am gathering.  And as such, are forming the same opinions and attitudes as myself.  But there is a good chance they are shaped differently by these same experiences.

Be mindful.

-Jeff

Train New Leaders – Let Them Lead

Illation on Leaders 7, May 2019

Let someone else lead / train new leaders

Ephesians 4: 12  Leadership within the church:

  • shape and deepen theological understandings so leaders can act with Wisdom
  • listens to the voice of God within: the Holy Spirit
  • trains and encourages growth that will produce fruit
  • empowers individuals by creating leaders so they can accomplish “works of service”; either within or outside the church

In the modern North American church we ask leaders to make decisions and give us direction — that is our “marching orders” — defining what positions there will be (and how many) within the church, each of their descriptions, hours, and pay (if any).  Yet leading, within the context of Jesus’ teaching and Paul’s expressed views, means leaders are servants (Jesus to His disciples in Luke 22: 24-27 ) given the job of building up the Saints (Paul in Ephesians 4: 11-15).  Not seeking power or administrating through corporate structure as everyone’s boss.

∴∴∴∴∴∴∴∴∴∴∴∴

 Think of the Marriage Relationship as God’s example for inter-personal communication skills.  Plans are made but not always by one individual all the time.  Also, a marriage does not function well without God in a leadership role.  A triangular relationship.  Marriage is enriched by the influence of a knowledge of God’s ways, an attentiveness to prayer, in short the overview God gives to our position in life: He has created each of us uniquely to reflect and serve each other.

Train people to lead.  Let them do their God-given thing.