April 23, 2006

Into the West

Finding "my beach," (a forgotten beautiful black sand hideaway) where I have spent hours in prayer, study, and thanksgiving; embracing the challenge and joy of road biking; spending time with people who Love the Lord Jesus and therefore love me; so many Riches have been poured out upon me during my sabbatical in Hawaii.

The itinerant pattern my life leads me on has allowed me to embrace the greatness of horizons. There is so much to see, discover, explore...embrace! There is great beauty in the world, "but to behold it, you must carry it within you." The Lord teaches me that. Though i seem to be always going, I have learned inevitabley to embrace every moment I have, living each to its potential. While some may say my constant "wandering" is a sign of restless discontent, i argue that my situations have only allowed a greater understanding of the necessity to seize every day for all it is worth...for who are we to boast about tomorrow, we do not know what the next day will hold. Never knowing how long I will remain in one place before traveling on I sometimes sigh at my circumstance, longing for the contentment of being "settled." Saying goodbye to those I grow to love deeply is always so hard. However, the Lord's Grace has sustained me mightily through many tearful seperations and even as i prepare for others tomorrow, I anticipate great joy knowing that I have been allowed to meet more beautiful souls all around this world than many ever know in a life time.

Surrounded by a GREAT cloud of witnesses, I Praise God for giving me the opportunity to wander the earth as a stranger...in search always and everywhere for signs of my one true Home. I do get Homesick, I long for Heaven, the pain in this world is prevelant. I'm thankful for such longing...and I pray it may only increase until the Blessed day I bow before my King, and feel at Home. May we all hunger so deeply for His Presence that we do not for a moment become so content in ourselves that we cease to Long Desperately after Him. He will call us Home, He is preparing a place for us...and will gather us together under His Wing as He has so longed to do. He bids us come to Him, and find rest...Come to Him and find Peace...Come to Him and find the Feast for which we all have hunger.

'Lay down your sweet and weary head
Night is falling; you have come to journey's end
Sleep now and dream of the ones who came before
They are calling from across a distant shore
Why do you weep? What are these tears upon your face?
Soon you will see all of your fears will pass away
Safe in my arms, you're only sleeping

What can you see on the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the Sea a pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home
And all will turn to silver glass
A light on the water, all souls pass

Hope fades into the world of night
Through shadows falling out of memory and time
Don't say we have come now to the end
White shores are calling, you and I will meet again
And you'll be here in my arms, just sleeping

What can you see on the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the Sea a pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home
And all will turn to silver glass
A light on the water, grey ships pass Into the West.'

April 17, 2006


"Here is My Servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit upon Him and He will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out."

HALLELUJAH! CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED!!! The prophecy is fulfilled!!!!! The Saviour of the World has vacated the tomb of death that would bind us all to laws of world order, and has in Victory filled the vacancy in all hearts that would receive Him, that we would know emptiness no more! Rather, we are now called to follow our Rabbi, take up His cross, die to ourselves and know Life Eternal! HALLELUJAH for the FREEDOM CHIRST offers, the MERCY He shows, and the LOVE He so continually pours out!

"In faithfulness He will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till He establishes justice on earth. In His law the islands will put their hope."

This Easter has been climactic of the time I have spent dedicated to the Lord while in Hawaii. Fleeing again the comforts of familiarity i escaped the faces, lives, and habits accustomed to existing in the land of ones birth, desiring more than anything to cling to Jesus, that I would truly know the Power of Living and Belonging in HIM.

The two years prior to graduation from ACU were some of the happiest, yet most challenging and heart-breaking times of my life...and the wounds did not seem to heal as i so earnestly desired. Longing to embrace the fullness of opportunity given in CHRIST, I determined to venture out over the waters to throw myself in a situation of pure dependance upon the LORD. I have found such situations necessary for conquering human inclinations to rely on oneself. Falling upon the mercy of God by allowing no other alternative provides the purest perspective of Life lived as the Beloved of Christ.

"If I rise on the Wings of the Dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." Psalm 139:9,10

"I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul Rejoices in my God! For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of Righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." Isaiah 61:10

The mystery of "Beloved" still enthralls me, and I do believe I am still very unable to recognize the possibility of such existence. We are a part of the BRIDE of Christ?!? Spoiled by the blessing of the LORD to receive Love and acceptance in immeasurable proportion no matter where in the world i travel, His Grace still confounds me as i battle the burden i fear to be to those whose Love is freely given. The more exalted i am, the more my fear will grow if i do not immediately surrender to the Most High - for i know i am not prepared to live up to expectations on earth. I am only knowlegable, passionate, zealous, or loving where the Lord frees me to be. I know what it is to be left out - unrecognized. I remain bewildered that I have been allowed to recognize what it is to be so cherished, and loved. I know my sin, my shortcoming. Surrounded all day today by people who love and respect me incredibly - though having only spent a short time with me - overwhelms me to tears again. I know, as do those who know me best, that i am far from worthy of any attention I receive. If anything is noticed, it is not my ability to pursue the Lord as i desire...but perhaps it is my shear Desire that enthralls. The Lord alone has blessed me with that, and HE has never rejected me, though i've given Him too many opportunities. I don't understand.

"When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, 'I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."
After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, 'Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.' And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.' "

I celebrated the Resurrection of my Saviour, Jesus Christ, in the most remote islands this week. As far from Jerusalem as you get, i gathered for the Passover last week with those whose eyes have been opened. Those of us grafted in and those the Father called long before Christ all celebrated the Risen Lord together during a Seder Passover meal. It was so beautiful to fellowship with some who had been raised orthodox Jew, some even in Israel, who were now seated together with those depending on Christ for Salavation in a small chapel, in the most distant islands, celebrating the Risen Lord.

"Sing to the Lord a New Song, His praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them!" Isaiah 42:10

The officiating Rabbi with tears in his eyes explained, "There are three pieces of Matza (unleavened) Bread used during the Sedar. The second piece is broken, hidden, and brought back later - it is this piece we eat of. We never knew the meaning of this tradition. Now that i know the Messiah, Jesus Christ - I understand. Three parts of God; Father, Son, Holy Spirit. The middle part, Jesus Christ, broken, hidden, brought back." Hallelujah for the celebration and the gift it was to celebrate with so many the Grace it is to recognize our Lord as we dined together! No wonder they all soon jumped out of their seats and danced in traditional Jewish style, singing in Hebrew to my delight as we circled the room!! Hallelujah, it is Good to Rejoice!

"Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!' So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first..."

This morning I ran to the ocean, arriving out of breath as the disciples from on their way to examine an empty tomb. I did not find a lonely, empty tomb at the end of my run...but a large gathering of people...coming together from all over the island, setting aside differences to proclaim together Jesus Christ as the Risen Saviour. If the Church cannot come together on this day to Praise God for the Grace He has shown...then we need not meet anywhere at all. But today, most all of the churches claimed victory and did the what Jesus commanded...Loved one another. As the sunrise spilled rays of light over the mountains to greet our joy, we sang praises together, and worshipped in love, the One we Adore. The tomb remains empty, but our hearts will never be empty again!

"I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me will Live, even though he dies; and whoever Lives and Believes in me will never die!"

I believe His prayers continue today...may we pray with Him, in His precious Name, that the Father's Love would be poured out even more allowing sight to those stumbling, and drowning in the darkness...may His Grace overwhelm us - especially when we don't have sense enough to long for it. As great as our futility is to survive without committment to Him is His LOVE for us. May we surrender the convenience, and confusion of life lived for ourselves, and dedicate once for all, our lives to Him.

"Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am and to see My Glory, the Glory You have given Me because You Loved Me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know You and they know that You have sent me. I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the Love you have for Me may be in them and that I Myself may be in them."

April 11, 2006

Palm Sunday

"Hosanna!" Blessed is HE who comes in the name of the LORD!
Blessed is the KING of ISRAEL!"
Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your KING is coming, seated on a donkey's colt..."

The LORD has come! He has declared Himself King and invited us to His Banquet! HE has allowed us to Declare His Glory before all peoples! He has made us unable to be quiet about the GLORY of His Excellency!
Palm Sunday at the beach, breakfast served as usual to all who are hungery. Two stand out, and later are served lunch in the pastor's home. "Jamie, we're all going to Max's for BBQ and kayaking, will you bring them...and be bold with them, they need it." Petitioned by the pastor, I continued speaking with them and confirmed yet again...the only thing harder than communicating with someone who is high on methamphetamines (ice), is communicating with someone coming OFF of a high. Fidgety, restless and irritable, Rachel-Ann paced in and out of the house and so my focus turned to John. The two had met the day before and in a drunken stuppor decided to get married. This was obviously not a good idea. John's great struggle was a bondage to alcohol. Though she was obviously not all with us, he was desperate to escape, longing for more.
"Whoever wants to save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for ME will SAVE IT! What good is it for a man to gain the whole world...and yet forfeit his very self?!"
It is easier to dismiss people in the state i found these two in, but that would be to reject my LORD. It is hard to recognize hope for them, easier to sigh, talk about how sad it is, and move on before hindered. Jesus did not do that. He just tells us about who they are. From my experience: There are those whose eyes are shut, who remain blind to the call of the Lord. There are those whose eyes have been opened, who see what is offered, and squint at the sight, thinking "maybe tomorrow." And there are those who meet the conviction straight on and know that they must throw off everything that hinders them NOW and make TODAY their decision if they are to taste that Freedom.
A woman partaking of the free breakfast that morning remained unmoved by the Love extended. Rachel-Ann, though influenced by drugs, divorce, pregnancies, and many other pains since 13 was now a 21 year old whose eyes were open. Obviously born very intellegient, years of drug use had confused her ability. Long since kicked out of her high-end parents house, her mouth confessed the knowledge of her only way out. There is still a FATHER who asks her into His house. Aware and confessing this desire...her committment was to tomorrow.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
John, desperate for help, and sickened by the life offered by the world was begging to be released. Longing for freedom from the bondage of alcohol and craving for the fellowship of those in Christ he remained in our fellowship throughout the day. He told me stories of his grandmother who would read the WORD to him every time he'd visit. "She'd read till she fell asleep drooling," he said, "then would wake up, and start where she left off. I didn't understand it then, though my love for her always left me listening whenever I visited, but she planted my only hope within me long ago." John's eyes are open, and TODAY he longs for Freedom in Christ. He surrounded himself with us when Rachel-Ann hitched a ride back to the "drug beach." He stayed the night studying with my brother Keoni, and today worked hard building rock walls with Pastor Issy. He has a long way to go, he knows this. He claims responsibility for his mistakes, confesses his need, and longs for more with a hunger that surpasses most. What are his chances? Our flesh demands skepticism. He's asking for Hope...may our prayers surround him.
"In Faithfulness He will bring forth Justice; He will not falter or be discouraged till He establishes justice on earth. In His law the ISLANDS will put their hope!" Isaiah 42:4
The day of fellowship yesterday was very sweet. Around the world, as far from the Mount of Olives as geographically possible (save a couple penguins perhaps), we celebrated the Goodness of His Gospel so many years later. Many people came and went. The rain ceased for allowing the sunlight's beauty to radiate off the waters. Though my wrist inhibited me from kayaking, I was instead allowed to fellowship with many the LORD continued to bring in and out of Max's house. A great house, right at the bay of Captain Cook allowed us to venture freely back and forth from bay to balcony. Old friends and new shared fellowship with one another. The diversity represented astounded me. The LORD had called such a variety of people together, to fellowship in His Name...which we did with great rejoicing, great laughter, and great burgers!
"I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My Righteous right hand." Isaiah 4:9
The LORD has been so very gracious to me. A light rain begins to fall outside the window falls of yet another Christian home I am blessed to reside in. A beautiful couple from the fellowship I attend has offered great hospitality, and as I presently have a few days free from night work, I have come to stay for a couple days to soak in their wisdom and Love.

It is such a treasure to travel across the world so many times, meeting people and learning always of different Truths revealed in different situations. The journey to spiritual maturity is rigorous and blessed...I am so grateful that the Lord has seen fit to allow me to hunger after more of His Presence...what a gift. May HE guide us all on each of our Journeys, whether we are in Hawaii, Texas, England, Japan, Africa, or anywhere else in all the world...for while in the world, we are in a battle...and there is VICTORY in JESUS.
May we declare His Victory, His Righteousness, His Lordship, His Sovereignty and His Love so adamantly that our hearts overflow into all the world! At the sight of HIM we are unable to remain quiet!

"When HE came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began JOYFULLY to Praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: 'BLESSED is the KING who comes in the name of the LORD! PEACE in HEAVEN and GLORY in the HIGHEST!' Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, 'Teacher, rebuke your disciples!' ' I tell you the TRUTH, He replied, 'if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out!" Luke 19:37-40

I want to hear y'all all the way in hawaii!! JESUS IS LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 3, 2006

Beaches, Bikes and Grease

The sun poured through the wide windows to greet me way too early this morning. Night jobs have their down sides, and waking up is most of it. Alas, the sun is as persistent as my best friend's morning Joyfullness...and only the memory of her dancing into my room so many months ago shouting, "This is the day the LORD has made!" got me to repent of my groaning to meet the new day.
It seemed the frequent rainstorms of late had allowed one more sunny day, so I got ready and headed down to the beach for morning worship. Hallelujah! What a priviledge to have fellowship! Service ended, I departed for some time alone with the LORD on "my" beach (a beautiful black sand, often overlooked and therefore often privite beach). I have treasured time to be outside, studying the waves and the pull of the ocean, writing poems as many seem inspired to do by the ocean. However, I still stand in awe, much more than I swim in peace! But, today, I dared to get in and swim for a while and found it more refreshing than imagined! (I know it sounds silly, i live in Hawaii, and rarely go swimming...it's true...i prefer being with LOTS of people, or in a kayak...I don't like the idea of being snuck up on by an large, ferocious goldfish.) But, it was good. Then I dropped off the work truck at my compadre's place, left him with instructions to pick me up when he caught up, and I headed north on my bike.

I have so enjoyed learning about Road biking. That lite little narrow wheeled wonder can fly, and requires a whole new discipline than I've mastered yet. But with pressure to get to the most northern resort, where the next job was, I made the best time yet on that bike!!! (I wondered later why I had rushed to get there, when all that's to great me is ungrateful GREASE...but, despite it's complaints, it is now shiny and spotless, thank you very much.)

"In a race, all the runners run, but only one gets the prize. Run in such a way as to get the prize...I beat my body and make it my slave so that in the end, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize!"

This verse has often encouraged me on my runs. On biking now, a discipline that requires greater time and therefore endurance, I have learned even more. I bike for discipline's sake, for exercise and health...and mostly to learn about that last portion of verse above from 1 Corinthians.

It is so easy to preach...so easy to know what needs to be done. It is so easy to write out a work out schedule, to know how to eat right and stay in shape. It is so NECESSARY TO DO IT. I like Nike's Slogan, "JUST DO IT." I like Yoda's wisdom to Luke Skywalker, "Try not, do, or do not." I treasure Jesus words, "Be perfect, as I AM PERFECT."

With HIM all goals are accomplished. Our (my God and I) goal is not to win next years Ironman Triathlon prize...though I'd love to finish it someday. Our goal is to get me, and all His children, to THE PRIZE. Salvation, the goal of our Faith...LOVE, the meaning of Life in Him.

Pray with me, that we would have the strength to pedal hard for that one last mile, though the sun is hot, the legs are burning, and the breath is short. Pray with me, for this is the only goal worth putting our energies toward.

Perseverance, Character, Hope, Love.

April 1, 2006

It's Personal...

On of the dearest friends I have ever had has taught me two things very well. First, I have learned more than ever the value of committment to relationships - be it friendship, family, or Divine - teaches me how to intertwine each. The second most important thing I have learned is how to "lose leaves," or be real with one another. The freedom that comes from sharing hearts openly and honestly in fellowship before the LORD surpasses any other act of intimacy. The ability to feel safe while exposing the depths of your heart is necessary, uniting, healing, and strengthening.

That being said, my posts may reflect what I have learned more in the future. My petition is this - as I share my heart, my joys and fears, please stand beside me in prayer, for i confess all in order to gain a closer walk with Jesus...and there is a Big battle going on.

All that is written in previous posts is true...but not the whole story. I need your prayers. I desire so earnestly to pursue the LORD with ALL my Heart, ALL my Strength, and ALL my Mind. I Need your prayers. I have struggled with many attacks common to man, and with some struggles it has become easier to habitully "fail the test." I Need Your Prayers.

Reading through an old journal of mine, i ran across an entry written November 29, 2005. This entry is repeated later, and to this day remains my prayer.

"My mind seems often in constant turmoil, striving to dicipher a path to take in the pursuit of my destiny. I long to have my foot firmly planted on the path which will produce abundant fruit in this life. I will not live this life in vain! My struggle continues though I dream all day about what I'd "love" to do. Hmm, i like the meaning behind that statement, "Love to do." Thats what I want my life to be about -> so in what manner will Love be done?? That's what I want - to Love - to invite healing, relationship, care...all that is LOVING...back into Life..."

My journalling continues with thoughts on Keoni, the young man I've had the priveledge of helping to disciple...and on to how much I still long to be discipled. I am tired of "being so spiritually mature." I'M NOT!!! I need mentors as much as the next person...if anything is unique, it's not how much i've excelled in pursuing the LORD, for I know I have fallen FAR FAR short of any measure imaginable...the only uniqueness that may stand out as maturity, is rather a Passionate LONGING for maturity. I stand on Grace, as anyone. I Long for the LORD to put in my path HIS people who will help to REFINE me so much more than I have been. I am greatful for this hunger...and longing for it's fulfillment.

"When I wake, I will be satisfied with seeing CHRIST'S Likeness."