Month: December 2007

Beyond Power [UPDATE]

Our fall course at Biblical concludes tomorrow. For the next two days we will continue our conversations around the theme of leadership “beyond power.” Sally Morgentahler is our guest “facilitator” in our learning journey. There will be a pleasant surprise for some of the students as a former guest will “crash” our learning party and add to the our learning in great ways.

On the plane ride up to Philly I finished reading an advance copy of Tony Jones new book, The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier.

UPDATE: Enjoyed breakfast with Todd Mangum and dinner with John Franke. I recommend Biblical Seminary and the direction they are going in education. Tomorrow morning – breakfast with my friend Joe Myers who will join us for class tomorrow which will be a blockbuster follow-up to a great class today.

Glad to get the power back …

For more than 48 hours we went without power. Some are still without power. It was kind of humorous this morning as we went out to the house. Lights on every side but for most of the square mile around us it was dark. It was as if there were a black hole and we were in it. Pray for those still without power, heat and light.

more-icy-photos-12-2007_005.JPGFortunately while we were without power my folks weren’t. I took some photos around their neighborhood.

more-icy-photos-12-2007_012.JPGThis is the “Tommie Tree” in their backyard.
more-icy-photos-12-2007_008.JPGThe next day this small tree returned to “normal.”

When Others Face a Lack of Water …

Our oldest daughter sent a link this morning to water that promises to “make you good.” Rather than buy into this new form of “Jesus junk,” why not consider following the group who initiated the Advent Conspiracy. Send what you save this year during Christmas to help provide clean drinking water to those in need. Now, if any act will have a positive effect on you and me, it will be offering water in the name of Jesus.

Icy Days

ice-storm-2007_005.JPGIn Oklahoma you never know what the weather will bring. Our first ice storm of the season is leaving its mark. We are hoping it will leave soon and our power will return.
ice-storm-2007_011.JPGTrees bear the brunt as the extra weight stresses limbs and branches.
ice-storm-2007_004.JPGHere’s hoping to see more of this –
ice-storm-2007_013.JPG

Felled Forest and a Sprouting Stump

Some years ago Patty and I walked through Stanley Park and marveled at the “Forest” growth. Occasionally we would walk upon large felled trees. Some lie on the ground as a result of age, others had been struck by lightning and still others may have succumbed to disease. Growing up in Oklahoma we seldom saw trees so large. Some of these trees had been cut to clear an easier path to walk. Stumps could be seen randomly throughout the park.

Out of some of these stumps grew new growth. What appeared to be dead possessed life enough to produce s small shoot.

Each summer when I use the grass trimmer (weedeater) to clean next to our loafing shed I inevitably must hack down foliage growing from small shrubs and trees that had been cut leaving stumps.

The chances of a formidable tree growing up from a stump are slim. Yet, the prophet Isaiah ends chapter ten with the picture of the felling of a forest. Images of tall cedars would evoke thoughts of power and might. The notion of their demise would signal defeat and weakness.

Chapter 11 opens with the remarkable vision of a peace bringing shoot growing up from a stump. Unlikely yet hope-filled. Images of lions and lambs co-habiting in peace would certainly speak to a new day.

Peter Rollins writes of life in the aftermath of God in his book, <u>How [Not] to Speak of God</u>. I could not help but recall this description when thinking of Jesus coming in the aftermath of the justice of God. Expectations would never turn to an unlikely girl, a young man embarrassed at the pregnancy of his betrothed and a small town considered least among other places to call home. Yet, in the aftermath of silence God speaks.

Angels declare, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among people.” This announcement alerted the world to God in the aftermath of silence. Peace marks a distinct way relationships would now be marked. The coming of Jesus would bring peace without and within.

Now we find ourselves living in the way of Jesus. Unlikely. Improbable. And at the same time invigorated at the possibilities of joining God in the work of bringing peace to the world – peace among people, peace among neighbors, peace among ethnic enemies, peace among conflicted nations, peace with God.

All of this coming out of a sprouting stump.