Twas the Night Before Belgium…

Twas the night before Belgium

And all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring

Except for a Morgan.

The bags all packed

By the front door with care

With Prayers

The Jesse and her

Could make it the airport.

The snow has come quick

And mounted with ease

While Morgan whined loudly

Wishing snow to be gone.

[Hope you enjoyed that… it just came to me… Because I am a dork like that.]

ANYWHO…

It’s here.

The night before I leave.

I cannot believe that in 12 hours I will be on a plane heading for Belgium.

For three months!

This is just insanity – of the best sort.

I am so excited and honestly, these past few days, I have been absolutely blown away by the kindness, love and generosity of my friends and those in my life. Even my Middle Schoolers… they have been sending me the most encouraging text and letters. I am amazed. Simply blown away.

The Lord is so good.

I learned a long time ago that on my own, I am not well liked and I am not very likable. [I am OK with this assessment of myself – don’t worry, my self-esteem and all such things are fine, I am stating fact.] However, The Lord has been so faithful to me and has grown me into this person that people love. [Hope that doesn’t come across as prideful… oh gosh!] Seriously though, I grew up in my hometown being generally disliked and picked on, and now the Lord has been so gracious to give me favor is so many environments and so many people that love me and show me love that I cannot even begin to process it. I look at my friends sometimes and just ask they, “Why do you fools even like me?” or “I still cannot believe that you wanted to be my friend.” I really ask these questions… and I know that it must be because of the Lord being faithful, gracious and loving. There is not other reason I can even begin to accept or believe.

So unending thanks to God, my Lord, for his Faithfulness in loving me, despite how broken I am, and for giving me the privilege of my friends, my church and this call to Belgium. I don’t deserve such extravagant gifts, but He gives anyway.

So… anyway.

T-Minus 12 hours…

Until I Fly Away.

Woah!

Keep up with me on here because I will be trying to update regularly.

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Oh, Broken Church!

There are times that I feel just angry. I don’t mean to, and I know that it’s wrong. I should be more patient, understanding, and encouraging. I just get mad though.

I should probably tell you why, haha!

I get really angry with American (or Western) Church mindsets, and how people can so easily get sucked into “Church Culture” rather than true and fruitful Faith in Christ. I can literally rant and rant and rant and rant and rant and rant and rant and rant and RANT on this topic for hours, as those who know me in person can attest. This past week, at my church, i was thinking about this, and getting angry about this, and stated thinking about it.

I then began writing.

I was able to get out some of my anger in the poem below, and communicate how I was feeling, and call out those who I feel need to be called out (if they read it…)

It is long. I was going to apologize of it, but truly – Sorry, not sorry! I couldn’t stop… and I think it needs to be said. So take the time to read it please. So here it is.

Plunged deep in the world

Anchored by the Truth I know

Seeking a way to love the Tares,

Finding it easier than believed.

But as time progresses, love demands more.

My heart breaks as my treasured friends flail.

Trying to find happiness, joy and purpose.

Failing and left wondering Why.

How do I console and comfort

When my respite, my solace, is not what they want to hear.

Their deepest need and the completion of their desires,

They reject as archaic, narrow and just not for them.

“The hypocrites, the judgement, the culture that skewed,

The church doesn’t want them” They think and they cry.

And they’re not wrong.

The church is uncomfortable with friends like mine.

Their lives are messy and filled with grime.

Pain beyond measure, impossible choices,

Risky situations and problems we can’t solve.

How do we act with the lost in our way?

The Pharisees, that brood of vipers,

The religious “elite”, those Whitewashed tombs,

They judge, spurn and withdrawn in disgust.

The proclaim shallow praise for their “pious natures,”

While looking down on the broken with a sneer and a stare.

Rather,

Look to our leader, our ever Faithful Big Brother.

How does Jesus engage the lost?

Does He judge, spurn and withdraw,

Or does He love, move close and embrace?

Matthew and Mark both tell the tale,

Jesus was eating, living and loving,

The worst of the sinners, the tare, the lost.

THIS is our call, oh broken church!

To be a Christian, oh “Little-Christ.”

Our Lord would embrace, love and reach to meet needs.

Do you push them aside or cross the road,

or, God-forbid, attack and judge.

Do you assume you know their state?

Do you know their minds, their thoughts and their pains?

The lies they believe or the Truth they can’t see?

Christ came for the sick, the lost, the sinners to the core.

How quickly we forget that’s our state for sure.

Why do we think we can elevate our plight?

That we’re not “that bad” or never took it “that far”

But save the hand of our Lord reaching down

Our state would be sure and equal to theirs.

We’re indulgent, disobedient and seeking our own.

Sin breaks us all and drags us down deep,

Beyond what we think, beyond what we know.

Our desires, our lust, removes all our reason.

Don’t fool yourself, or think you’re above it.

Your state, you sin, without Christ is damning .

Not matter our sin, it removes us from God.

Separate from God, no goodness exist.

In order to love and serve the lost,

We must realize we’re not far from that heart.

Our culture, our nature, resist this approach.

We long freshen up, cover up, and boast.

To accept and speak of our weakness is shunned,

Hide the dirt and proclaim the good.

How funny, that sounds like the very attitude

The Good Lord rebuked the Pharisees for.

Hiding the truth of our sinful heart,

Claiming the glory for good in our lives.

Not realizing how hiding our sin just makes us look fake.

Promotes the idea that we are mere hypocrites.

Step beyond ourselves and how other see,

And be truthful and honest with those in view.

Don’t show off your “power” and “holiness.”

What good is that for struggling friend?

Rather boast in your weakness, and in your failings,

To show off the Glory, Power and Love,

Of the One who brings all Good to the world.

The One who saves all broken lost sinners,

Who cry out His name, and, oh, what a sweet name!

Live your life not to proclaim your goodness,

It’s worthless, filthy rags, as dear Isaiah calls it.

But look to the Good, with a capital “G”,

That comes from beyond ourselves,

Despite ourselves,

From our Glorious King.

We cannot fix and save the lost.

But we were never supposed to,

For that is not who we are.

Our purpose, our aim, no matter our pride,

Is to point the lost, the ones by our side,

Our friends and dear ones,

To the only one who can.

Jesus the Christ, the God-Man, the Savior of All.

Comments, questions and criticisms are welcomed.

More Poetry

I found some more of my old poetry the other day, so I’ll begins to put some more up here ever couple of days. This one I wrote out of frustration and being fed up with the lack of transparency and honesty in the relationships we have in our lives. We must dare to be exposed, even just a bit, in order to know one another and to be known by others.

Enjoy

Masquerade

Smiling faces all aglow
Joyous laughter fills the void.
The void of things not said
Never to be uttered
Clinking glasses filled with sin
As they pretend to be all friends.
Pretending holds who they are,
who others think they are.
The truth is cloaked as gems do shimmer
A glistening image forced into its place.
No one sees the flaws or scars,
or even gives a second glance.
Boisterous gowns and tuxes quiet fierce,
Topped off with mask, embellished with fear.
Nimbly hiding all the insecurities and pain,
or so they wish to believe.
Dancing carefully with one another
All steps that have been rehearsed and learned.
All the right steps,
All doing the right thing.
As the music begins to fade away
And attendants begin the journey home
Does the facade melt away,
Or has it been seared to their hearts?
Lovely exchanges of peace and fair travel
Announcing excitement for the next swell ball.
And snide comments being
Before their shadows fade from the door.
It’s time for bed, and rest is nigh,
Respite from the evening of fabricated lies.
Prayers sent up for courage to last,
To keep up the guise, but hope slowly dies.
Masquerade! Paper faces on parade, Masquerade!
Hide your face so the world will never see you…

Old Poetry for an Old Friend

Today has been quite a weird day.

Work went well, both Barista-ing and counseling. Then I had to go back to the coffee shop from which I employed to get up for the holiday launch. I have been thinking a lot about my friends in Belgium these past few days, and there was someone there that looked very similar to a dear friend in Belgium and it made me miss being there and being with my friends. Missing my friends like this always puts me into a strange, nostalgic type of mood. It’s kind of a mix of sad, lonely, longing, fear, and fondness…. but not fully anyone of those. A strange hybrid of all. That’s why is been so weird… because I can never put my finger of how I feel… just weird.

That then lead to think about other friends that I miss, and my thoughts drifted to a dear friend I spent a lot of time with in Washington DC when I lived there years ago. I then thought about this poem I had written him back then (even though I am not quite sure I ever gave it to him). Here it is.

Among the Thorns

The ghosts of your past still haunt you
And your demons won’t give you peace.
Moving forward seems impossible;
Your only thoughts dwell on relief.
Longing for something to hold onto
as your world seems to crumble,
You reach out, unsure if its safe to grasp;
Placing the last fragments of you
In something that might not be real.
As the grip begins to tighten
The light begins to glow.
You begin to accept the thought,
That there may be something more.
The hope that you lost is found,
With true love invading your soul.
As your past is counted for loss
And your demons run in fear.
His embrace has saved your life,
Leading to overflowing joy.
Passion had restored your heart
All existence now has meaning;
Praise be to him who death had no hold.

My friend had suffered a great deal from life, and sometimes it make it angry and caused him to struggle with his new found faith. This was meant to encourage him, remind him of the Gospel and foster hope. It’s like the old proverb says “The night is always darkest before the dawn”. Life is hard (see previous… and lets be honest, future, post), but there is hope.

There has to be Hope.