"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." - Psalm 143:5

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Giant Reptiles, Quotes and Scriptures...oh my!


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It's time for PDT (Pleasantly Disturbed Thursday) hosted and funded by Duane Scott, fellow disturbed blogger and friend (Read more here)

Those who know me and those getting to know me...ummm, "know" that I love quotes.Perhaps lesser known is that I like to mix quotes with Scripture and see if I can make a connection. I've included a few in my post today, hoping you are disturbed enough to maybe offer one of your own. Come on, give it a go! OH, as for giant reptiles...you'll have to scroll to the end of the post to find out.
Peace, Jay

“God is faithful; by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1: 9

"Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
Rick Blaine-Casablanca

"God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea." Ps 46:1-2

"Good. For a moment there, I thought we were in trouble."
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." 2 Cor 10:4

"Have fun storming the castle!" - MIRACLE MAX in The Princess Bride (1987)

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

"Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too; this is why a great and clear mind loves ardently and sees distinctly what he loves." Blaise Pascal

"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. (7)
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when
you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down,
and when you rise." DEUTERONOMY 6:6-7

"I have always said that a studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands." --Thomas Jefferson.

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"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 41:10

"What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?"
- Vincent van Gogh

 

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy." Proverbs 27:6

Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty."  - Sicilian Proverb

Images via Wikipedia

giantreptile

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Won't You Be My Neighbor?


 

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This post is a part of a weekly book discussion hosted by Jason Stasyszen of Connecting to Impact and Sarah Salter of Living Between the Lines. I encourage you to check out the other posts which can be found on their sites. The Book we are discussing is The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns…this week,
Chapter 5 – The Three Greatest Commandments.

mr rogers

I’m not sure why but chapter 5 made me think of Mr.Rogers…yes, that Mr.Rogers. You may think me strange (and correctly so) but I think that cardigan wearing, Presbyterian minister/TV kid show host had something to say about being a neighbor…at least his life did. At his funeral in 2003, Teresa Heinz Kerry said of Rogers…

"He never condescended, just invited us into his conversation. He spoke to us as the people we were, not as the people others wished we were."

Hold on to that quote….

According to Richard Stearns, the “Bible for Dummies” is this verse.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

Or simply put…“Love God. Love your neighbor.”

My neighbors (most of them) know we’re Christians, so why are they not banging at my door to find out more? Perhaps it’s the way I love my neighbors…could it be that simple? The Gospel message is simple; loving like the Father is not…that part, I make difficult.

God so loved, He gave. It’s the good news…it’s the best news!
So, I ask myself these questions.

What am I willing to give?

Who am I willing to love?

Who am I willing to invite into “the” conservation?

If we allow these questions to challenge us, they can give insight to the heart of God, allowing us to see with His vision. Neighbors look different and more importantly, the people we see as our neighbor changes.

“For all the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14

Father,
Move on my heart to love and to give like yours. Let my life be an invitation that opens doors for my neighbors to come to a deep and abiding relationship with you. Amen

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Yellow Streak


one yellow line on black



 

 

 

 

A yellow streak - Ignoble lack of courage: chicken heartedness , cowardice , cowardliness , cravenness , dastardliness , faint-heartedness , funk ...

Ok, you probably get the picture...it isn't pretty is it? I was going to post a picture of the yellow streak that decorates my van now thanks to a run-in with a McDonalds drive thru post. However, the post (at McDonalds) really has nothing to do with what I'm talking about...except it's a reminder for me. It reminds me that not everything you run into is unpleasant.

Yesterday S.Etole (visit her blog) left this comment in my post of Monday Musings...

A question I ask myself frequently is "What would I do if I weren't afraid?" and then I do it {mostly} ... resting in His provision.

I ran into that comment and though it shook me, it wasn't an unpleasant shaking. I started to think deeper about what keeps me from following hard after Him...what am I afraid of? What would I do IF I wasn't afraid? OH, I could make a long list I'm sure...but this was the thing I settled on...ready?

That I don't have what it takes...as it relates to a dream of mine.

I believe I'm a good husband, father, brother...I work on all those and pour my life through those arenas. God has open doors for me to minister and allowed me to encourage men with all He has taught (and is teaching) me...and I have loved every moment of it. My dream is to expand that vision (as He leads) and take it beyond my local borders. I have a book nearly finished and two others started...and then I think...

I don't have what it takes...that there are other, wiser, stronger in the faith, spiritual giants, men who do have what it takes...who needs what I have to say...I don't have what it takes.

Then I read S.Etole's question again...I think about my yellow streak and what I should do about it. The Holy Spirit reminds me...

Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage
and do it."
Ezra 10:4

"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may[a] serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29

So as I let the Father shake the things not of Him in my life...I ask you the same question shaking me. What would you do if you were not afraid? I would love the opportunity to pray for you. Blessings, Jay.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Musing Monday - 3 Streams


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A poem, a quote and a Scripture...

Those are some of the things I'm musing about involve those three streams of thought (see below). There are tough decisions that must be made this week and I believe a season of direction change for me (I hope to post that in greater detail later this week). In this all I am confident in Father God, His provision and His love. My turn to preach is a next Sunday (October 3) and believe or not, it's about...Rest.

So, as I learn to Rest in all He has for me and my family this week, I would like to ask some questions. I would love to hear your feedback.

Do any of these streams resonate with you?
Can you see the connection between them?
What does REST mean to you?

In Him,
Jay

Wishing

Quote me, but softly
For I would stroll
Through a park of zeal
Testing the playground
In a un-grownup manner
Wishing the freedom to
Swing with my eyes shut
And no hands
grasping at chains
My innocence laughing
as it once did
1-21-05   © Jay Cookingham

“God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain” C.S. Lewis

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Evening Re-Post – Jay’s Marriage Proverbs

 

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Posted this earlier in the year, felt like a good time to post again.  Also check out the video below…

1. That shall flirt with they wife continuously.

2. That shall kiss thy wife all the days of her life.

3. Sweet shall be your name calling lest thee be smitten by a broom.

4. If you fighteth, forgiveth quickly for better will the makeup be.

5. Forbade not thy hugging, for it leadeth to much pleasure.

6. Snuggle tight often, for it is harder to fight that way.

7. Loveth the wife of your youth or homeless you may be.

And something a little more serious…this is for my wife who is the love of my life! I love you Christine!

 

Have a great weekend everyone! Blessings, Jay

 

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Not Moved

 

Crashing-Waves

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.  (38) And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? (39)And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (40)And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
                                                                              Mark 4:37-40

Lately I have to admit to acting more like a frightened disciple than a overcoming son of the most high. Maybe it’s the list of things going wrong, maybe it’s a longing to be safe…maybe…just maybe…it is a lack of faith. The disciples were afraid and Jesus was still in the boat with them…have I forgotten that He said, “I am with you always”…have I?

The truth is that I didn’t forget, I just didn’t believe it…somewhere deep inside I looked at the rocking and rolling boat I was in and decided that the waves were stronger…imagine that…me, Christ follower for over 40 years…doubting His master.

How is it that ye have no faith?

I think it begins when we take our eyes off Him and believe the lies of circumstances. It continues when the seemly relentless waves of trials appear ready to toss you overboard into the depths of ruin.

“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” C.S. Lewis

My peace comes in spite of my circumstance because I am with Him…abiding, focusing, and communing with the Lord of the winds and waves. Then the waves take on a whole new meaning…they become very effective teachers. I wrote this poem a few years ago and I believe it can explain what I mean.

Not Moved

Planted, granite like.
I stand up to the waves.
Crashing waves,
cold, relentless.

The flash of the storm,
quieted.
The wet warmed away
by sun.

Rays expose a cliff changed,
not moved.
Revealed,
not moved.
Shaped,
but not moved.

Jay Cookingham – September 23, 2002 ©

Can I encourage you that the Lord is with you through your storms and will cause them to “be still”…trust and believe…Lo, He is with you always!
Blessings,
Jay

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Where Would Jesus Go?

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This post is a part of a weekly book discussion hosted by Jason Stasyszen of Connecting to Impact and Sarah Salter of Living Between the Lines. I encourage you to check out the other posts which can be found on their sites. The Book we are discussing is The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. This week it’s chapter three  entitled “The Towering Pillars of Compassion and Justice”

I admitting to using part of an older post of mine but I believe it fits with what my heart is feeling after reading this chapter. The author asked himself many questions such as…

Are I willing to be open to God’s will for my life?

Just what was God’s will for my life?

What did He expect of me?

So, I pondered those questions and I asked…What do you expect of me? His answer?

Come…follow me

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15

Jesus went wherever people needed reconciliation and connection with Father God. In modern day context that could be bars, clubs, strip joints, bingo halls, city hall, I guess just about anywhere. Speculation to Jesus’ visiting itinerary is great to debate and muse about but I'm sure we would all be surprised where He would turn up.

However, He does "turn up" where we go, the places we frequent, visit and live in. The Message we carry as we interact with those not yet journeying with Christ is fleshing out the Great Commission everyday. I have worked in the Bowery, taken in ex-cons, started ministries for orphans, help coach little league, soccer, prayed for and visited work associates in hospitals. Yet, I know it’s not enough, there needs to be a renewal of compassion in my heart and a God size passion for justice…so I’m asking.

Where would Jesus go…next?

What I have discovered is that relationships are one of the Father’s ways to reach the world He loves desperately…it is a risky and heroic action. It takes faith to walk where Jesus goes and where He wants us to follow.

"Faith is the heroic effort of your life. You fling yourself in reckless confidence on God. God has ventured all in Jesus Christ to save us. Now he wants us to venture our all in a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering....Again and again, you will get up to what Jesus Christ wants, and every time, you turn back when it comes to that point until you abandon resolutely....Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you hold by common sense--and leap into what He says....Christ demands of the man who trust Him the same reckless spirit....that is daring enough to step out of the crowd and bank his faith on the character of God."  - Oswald Chambers

Peace,
Jay

 

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Taking Turns

 

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"See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse." Malachi 4:5-6

Ryan Tate over at Doorframes of TaterHouse is a brother I'm getting to know and respect deeply. His blog is on my "you must read daily list" and I'm always encouraged or challenge by his insight. Ryan asked me to guest post on his blog, which is funny because he doesn't even owe me any money! Anyways, it's a great honor and you can read my post at his blog by going here.

Blessings,
Jay

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bad Sheep Time – Pirate Talk

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It’s Time again for the Bad Boys of Wool, who have a habit of showing up
ram-domly and cheering me up. I also thought I put some “special” pictures up as well…I have no pride left, so it’s OK if you laugh. Blessings, Jay

bad sheep no 22 

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Since I’m preaching this Sunday, I thought I share my favorite preacher pose.

 



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My wife and I are bad to the bone, so don’t mess with us.

Watch more below…..

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


a very cool me



John Travolta…eat your heart out!
Besides the cheesy suit, I wanted to prove I had hair once..

 

 

 

 

 

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Annnnd last but not least…Me with my birthday gift, a bat'leth (a Klingon sword of honor). With this baby you CAN have your cake and eat it too!

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lack – Key



Permanent-3 copy[5] This post is a part of a weekly book discussion hosted by Jason Stasyszen of Connecting to Impact and Sarah Salter of Living Between the Lines. I encourage you to check out the other posts which can be found on their sites. The Book we are discussing is The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. This week it’s chapter three  entitled “You lack one thing”

“When we say that we want to be disciples, yet attach a list of conditions, Jesus refuses to accept our terms. His terms involve unconditional surrender.”
– Richard Sterns

You lack one thing

How come I feel like I’m missing or lacking a bunch of “things’? I have to admit this is a hard post for me. With my own personal economic meltdown I’m having trouble focusing on writing…here is a sampling of what I mean.

My company looks like it’s failing and I may be out of a job.
My freelance business is drying up.
My savings is gone (not counting the change jar on the kitchen table).
Oh yeah….I just caused 2,500.00 dollars worth of damage on my 12 passenger van this morning…

So, while driving my newly damaged van to the auto body guy for an estimate, I start firing questions off at God…(when will I ever learn?). Please forgive me ahead of time…this is an ugly exchange.

God, what about my lack? Do you see the faithful son…you know, the one toiling in the fields…the obedient one? So, I may not make my mortgage payment but now I’m supposed to care about what others don’t have? Huh…what did you say? Did you say…yes?

Yes son…the answer is always yes….did I have to answer that for you?

Ouch…did I ever open a big can of stupid and down it's contents!

You know what? My lack is not my list of financial woe (or any list). My lack is/was…compassion. Like the rich, young ruler (except for the rich and young part) my heart was lacking (and this is the lack-key) the one thing Jesus was asking of me. In this case…compassion towards others. I went away (from my selfishness) sorrowful but repenting.

Pity parties are usually well attended, at least mine are. I’m a seasoned son, I should know better. I grew up poor, my house did not have indoor plumbing, we often went without food and medical care…my heart should be sensitive to these things. Callous hands on a man are good, a callous heart in a man is not. There is a desperate cry from the world for un-calloused hearts to love like Christ. All it takes is unconditional surrender…please pray that I can.

Blessings, Jay

Empty pockets never held anyone back.  Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.  ~ Norman Vincent Peale

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Surrender, it’s all downhill from here.

 

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Over the weekend I was going through many piles of old notes, writings and poetry...trying to separate the wheat from the chaff I guess. In an earlier post I mention that I used to put out a Fathering Newsletter for a few years, well, I found something that spoke to me again. I wrote about surrender and gravity, both of which have tremendous pull. So, if you'll be so kind and pardon the remix of an old "post" I think there is something Father wants to speak to us all. Blessings, Jay

“At the back of it there lies the central citadel of obstinacy: I will not give up my
right to myself--the thing God intends you to give up if ever you are going to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.” Oswald Chambers

My son Matt and I were watching some of the Gravity Games (remember those?) one Sunday afternoon, the 6-man street luge competition I believe it was. The competitors hurl themselves on these oversize skateboards downhill at speeds reaching 60 mph just inches from the hard reality of asphalt. Six lugers begin each race, but rarely do they all finish. Navigating tight turns as they hurtle downhill, wipeouts are common. With their feet serving as their only brakes, (kinda like the Flintstones) the first competitor to cross the finish line wins.

I looked at my son and I could sense that he was thinking of how he could fabricate the baby stroller into his own version of a land speeder to imitate these “athletes”. Of course it was my duty to tell him the truth. That these guys were basically criminally insane and were taking part in some governmental experiment only to be returned to their cells after the test was over. He didn’t buy that of course, but the threat of kitchen duty for his remainder of life was enough to convince him of the wisdom to stay away from this particular gravity game.

Lately I feel just like one of those lugers, except in a more spiritual sense (although I KNOW I would be praying if I was streaking downhill on one of those hurt machines). The gravity game I been participating in recently has been just as intense, it’s called surrender. Instead of feet for brakes, I have only my will to stop from hurling down the hill of self-denial. Still, the gravity of God’s purpose for me pulls me to my knees and helps me to let go and fly into His will.

Surrender to Him has scared me in the past; it was an unsure place for me to go. I thought it meant a loss of identity, a loss of freedom, a place where I would disappear. I have found just the opposite, surrendering has set me free, restored who I really am in Him and shown me how much I am visible to the Father.

Our Heavenly Father wants us to be surrender “lugers”, throwing our weight down and letting it go…all the way into His design and purposes for our lives. The Father is at the bottom of the hill, calling our name, just waiting to celebrate.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5

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Monday, September 13, 2010

I Find it A-musing

 

manbeach

My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned; Then I spoke with my tongue. Psalm 39:3

Just thought I share some of the random thoughts, reflections and musings rattling around my brain and spirit today. What about you…what is the Father saying to you lately? I would love to hear your musings…come on…Don’t be shy!

Pray that God will undo you, in other words, makeovers by God
are a good thing.

Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." (6) Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. (7) With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.  Isaiah 6:5-7

To be undone by a loving Father promises that love will pick me up. The reach, down, stand me back up and dust me off type of love. An undone to be redone type of love.

The life God wants me to live is so much bigger than I have
(or will) ever imagine.

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me. Galatians 2:20

Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will
preserve it.
Luke 17:33

Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. – Fredrick Buechner

My life is not my own…I have been bought with a price and I serve at the pleasure of the King. That makes me a winner and I gain so much more in return…true life.

Seeing like the Father changes things.

Open my eyes so that I may behold wondrous things. Psalm 119:18

“When our deepest desire is not the things of God or a favor from God but God himself, we cross a threshold. Less self-focus, more God focus. Less about me, more about him.” - Max Lucado

I really don’t have to worry about “me”…God has me covered. The threshold we cross is freedom…relational freedom.

The challenge is to throw our faith into the vortex of His will

God's will is not an itinerary, but an attitude. ~ Andrew Dhuse

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

Do I trust His will for me…will I trust His plans, His ways? Only by faith can I ever hope to completely lose myself in Him. Knowing His will means knowing Him.

Blessings, Jay

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sonshine

 

myboysy“A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian... and most of all, his family ought to know.” - Dwight L. Moody

The other day I posted a simple dedication to my daughters (you can read it here) today is my sons turn. I have five awesome young men and they have rewarded me many times over. Joshua, Matt, Mike, Daniel and Isaac, like their sisters, are a true heritage of blessings. I am thankful and humbled to be their dad.

You don't raise heroes, you raise sons.  And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes.  ~ Walter M. Schirra, Sr.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cloud of Grief – A September Memory

 

clouds sun
I used to send out a fathering newsletter a few years back, way before I began blogging. I found this article I wrote shortly after the attacks on September 11th and I though it would be good to share with you all. I pray for those who are struggling today because of the love ones the lost that day…may God bring healing to their hearts. Blessings, Jay

A Cloud of Grief

There is a cloud of grief hanging over America that mimics the real cloud hanging over lower Manhattan. Out of that cloud have come many horrific stories, tragic in every way. Two from a recent NY Daily News report really moved me, they were short but the impact on the subjects of the stories will be long lasting. Here are their stories. (BTW, I changed the names)

She never got to say, "I'm sorry."

And now, three days after her husband vanished in the wreckage of the World Trade Center, Mrs. Smith was trying to convince herself that soon she'd get the chance.

Woman at Armory on Lexington Ave. holds picture of loved one. "The last time I spoke to Israel was Monday night," Smith said yesterday at St. Vincent's Medical Center, where hundreds like her came in hopes of finding loved ones.

"We were arguing about silly things," said Smith, 30. "I went to sleep in my daughters' room. On Tuesday, he left for work at 4:45 a.m. I was still asleep, so we never had a chance to talk."

A Little Girl Lost

Mr. Jones knew his ex-wife was dead. She worked for Morgan Stanley on the 107th floor of 2 World Trade Center. He saw her body on a slab in a Jersey City hospital. She never had a chance. Now he was in Manhattan, going from hospital to hospital with the other weeping relatives, looking for his 6-year-old daughter.

"My ex-wife brought my daughter in that day to meet her co-workers," said Jones, 46, of Trenton, NJ. "She told me that she was so excited about going to work with her mama and being in a tall building. She told me she wanted to go up to the observation deck."

Jones said his ex-wife managed to call him on her cell phone after the suicide plane struck."I told her please try and get our daughter, and then I told her not to take the elevator, and I told her I loved her and that I was on my way," Jones said, the words tumbling out. Now, he said, all he has are regrets and fading hope that his daughter is still alive.

"We got divorced because I was a workaholic who spent too much time away from home," said Jones, who designs weapons for the Defense Department.
"If I had one more chance to speak to my child, I would retire and devote my life to my family."

Everyday we have opportunities to forgive, to heal relationships that have gone sour and to communicate clearly the love we have for one another. We are not promised the next breath we take in and neither are the ones we care for. This tragic series of attacks on our nation and the stories of the people directly involved, should remind us of the fragile hold we have on life.

In our home we have two basic rules that we all understand; one is, Nothing is more important than loving each other”, and number two is, “There are two kinds of people who enter our home, those we love and those who need our love”. From there a foundation is established which helps us filter our emotions and gives us a place to return to when those emotions need adjustment. It helps us communicate and show appreciation for each other. It also helps us recognize when we have our priorities out of whack, and allows for grace to correct gently.

The father in me has been slapped awake with the great loss of fathers, and what fathers have lost in the measured madness that was sent our way. The desire to protect, shelter and nurture my children has strengthened in its urgency, but also growing is the sense to prepare them for a world completely different that I grew up in. There is great reason to hope, our Father God is sovereign and is committed to his sons. The guidance we need to be the strong fathers our families (and our nation) need is there for the asking. We will be challenged as providers, as leaders, as comforters, as men of action and as men of faith.

Our fatherhood will be shaped by trials and difficult times, we will need to believe more fervently in what the Father says and obey Him with the tenacity of committed men. Let us pray as men that God will adjust and fine-tune the priorities we have in day-to-day life, our legacy must be one of life changing love. We are briefly here, but our daily pursuit of a closer walk with the father will impact our families for eternity

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
(4) who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

“I care not if God is on my side; my constant hope and prayer is that
I may be found upon God's side.” - Abraham Lincoln

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Passionate Embrace

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I have two daughters, Becky is 8 and Sarah, (she took the photo above) who will be 20 in October. Between them I am “caught” and a better man because of it. This simple post is dedicated to my daughters who remind me of God’s embrace and His awesome love for me everyday.

                                                                   Blessings everyone! Jay

There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself.  ~John Gregory Brown

 

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bad Sheep Time – Sermon-iZing

 

bad sheep spot ad 2

Time for the Bad Boys of Wool to interrupt our day and gives us a chuckle or two...hopefully! Yes, I laughed...you know I did...
Blessings, Jay

 

bad sheep no. 21

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mad World

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This post is a part of a weekly book discussion hosted by Jason Stasyszen of Connecting to Impact and Sarah Salter of Living Between the Lines. I encourage you to check out the other posts which can be found on their sites. The Book we are discussing is The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. This week it’s Chapter Six, The Hole in Me.

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow
- Gary Jules, Mad World

I saw this chapter (The Hole in Me) in a different way than I thought I would when I first skimmed through it. The author’s journey out of a self-reliant mindset to a God-reliant one; is a reflection my life. His early life hardship forged this lifestyle and drove him to become a “self-made man”. He made an early decision concerning his parents…

“They can’t help me…not any more.”

I wonder how many have made similar choices, I know I did. Self-sufficiency becomes our MO, the way we cope with life. The problem with this decision is that there is no way we can cover all the bases…we develop holes…worn out places. We are turned inward instead of upward towards God… hide my head I want to drown my sorrow. Moments of pain poison the well of hopes and dreams. Trust becomes a word that you, well, can’t trust. It's a very, very mad world mad world.

That’s why I needed a Savior, to close up the leaks, someone to restore the well of living water inside me. Plugging the holes takes a Messiah.

Recently my oldest son Joshua sang the song Mad World by Gray Jules (the link is below) as a “pour his heart out in a Psalm sort of way” moment. It’s a way too depressing song but it got me thinking of the many hole-filled lives around us…familiar faces…that need a Savior. It’s a mad world, one that needs a people to step out of themselves and show the way to the Father. It needs us, his sons and daughters, living the Gospel in everyway the King asks us to do.

Plugging holes, mine, yours and the worlds…the Savior is ready
and willing…are we? Am I?

We know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16

Note: Josh is a filmmaker, artist, actor and trying his hand at singing. His YouTube handle is Hethrin, you may want to check out some of his other creativeness here.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Kick-Starting Hope


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Hope (at least for me) requires some looking back as well as peering into the murky waters of the future.

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Deuteronomy 4:9

The counsel here is clear…don’t forget, don’t let these experiences slip away. Use them, pass them on…exercise them. The power of hope is strengthen by exercising our memory muscle, by remembering how faithful God is. It’s the kick start that hope needs to register deep in our spirit.

Truthfully, I see little hope in the situation I find myself in and though many have encouraged me with “you’re on the verge of a breakthrough” comments (I have appreciated those BTW) it is hard to see how this particular crisis will end for my good.

The circumstances offer no hope, no relief and cause me angst of Biblical proportions…but, that’s not what where my hope lies.

And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in You. Psalm 39:7

Remembering what God has done (and is doing) for me, is the restoring agent, causing hope to return despite those nasty circumstances. The focus is on Him and not just on His promises but on the Father who loves us completely. The place of struggle, the circumstances, the pain…these are places where we can exercise our memory muscle and look back rejoicing at all He done.

That sounds like hope to me…

Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord. Psalm 27: 14

“If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.” - Martin Luther King JR

This post is part of the One Word blog carnival hosted by Bridget Chumbley where this time the discussion is about “Hope.” Hop on over to read all the great posts hosted there!

Monday, September 6, 2010

It’s Who you Know – Repost Help

 

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Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. Isaiah 50:7

This has been a good weekend for reflection and God easing my heart over the load I’m carrying. Whenever I’m stressed out beyond my limits I soon realize that I’ve drifted from the Father. So today I visited this post from 2009 and would like to share with you all again. I pray that it speaks to you and helps you where you may be on your journey with Him. Blessings, Jay

In an episode of Star Trek, The Next Generation, two of my favorite characters had a great conservation about fathers. Data (the android) and Worf (the Klingon, a great candidate for a church elder I think) were discussing a “dream” Data had about his creator. Since this was a first (a dream; that is) for Data and for androids in general he sought out Worf. Dreams and visions are big in Klingon culture, as their relationships with their fathers are. Here’s the conversation starting after Data asking Worf what he should do about the dream concerning his father (creator).

WORF: If it has anything to do with your father, you must learn all you can about it. In the Klingon MajQa ritual, there is nothing more important than receiving a revelation about your father.

As Worf gives advice to Data, he suddenly realizes he's talking to himself as well...

WORF (continuing): Your father is part of you...always. Learning about him tells you about yourself...That is why, no matter where he is... or what he's done... you must find him.

Data looks puzzled.

DATA: But I am not looking for my father.

Worf looks at him.

WORF: Yes, of course...

Worf's next words are meant just as much for him, as they are for Data.

WORF (continuing): Do not stop until you have the answer.

At the risk of boring you with my passion of Star Trek adventures, I wanted to share with you this episode (called Birthright). I think Worf has hit on something—the need to receive a revelation of our Father—to know ABBA in a deeper way. The MajQa ritual Worf speaks of involves prayers, solitude and fasting and the intent is to understand one’s place and purpose.

We need those moments of reflection, for knowing the Father changes everything. I mean, “knowing” the Father, the way He thinks, moves, and feels. Knowing more about God changes the data we have collected on Him but revelation of whom He is impacts us far greater. Knowing Him is a lifelong pursuit, a journey of relational exploration.

This journey challenges us as providers, in the way we lead, and the manner in which we care for those in our lives. It probes and tests us daily as men of action and as men of faith. There is great need to believe more fervently in what the Father says and obey Him with the tenacity of devoted sons.  As Worf said…do not stop until you have the answer. The passion of pursuing a deeper relationship with the Father is in us all. We can try to push it aside or ignore it but the longing to know and be known will never be silent in our souls.

As a father I want to love my children as they need to be loved, just like the Father loves me. I desire to be like Him, drawing my own children to me and allowing them to “know” me. This passion must overwhelm me; I must find Him daily, and in this position—one of total sold-out commitment—that we find our fathering stronger than ever before.

Setting my face like flint…towards the Father!

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Selective Service…kinda

 

 selective-service1 No, I haven’t been drafted but the kind folks over at The High Calling Blogs did select a previous post of mine to highlight this month (their "Around the Network" feature) along with a few other fine bloggers. So hop on over (is that possible over the internet?) and check out those blogs and be blessed. My thanks to Monica Sharman and David Rupert for honoring me along with the others. My post is here and one I reposted while back.blogspromo

Blessings,
Jay

 

 

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bad Sheep Time – Ram-domly Funny?

 

I needed a something to give me a lift today...so the Bad Boys of Wool showed up to do just that. Did it work? Well, if you ask my wife, she will tell you that I love my own jokes...a lot!
Blessings,
Jay

bad sheep no.20

 

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Least I Could Do

 

Permanent-3 copy This post is a part of a weekly book discussion hosted by Jason Stasyszen of Connecting to Impact and Sarah Salter of Living Between the Lines. I encourage you to check out the other posts which can be found on their sites. The Book we are discussing is The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns.

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:40

I admit to having a difficult time writing this blog post, I am (oddly enough) at a loss for words or I’m just not sure what my words should be. I could start off with a review of the first chapter but…I can’t…a plain review seems cold, distant and too easy for me. So, can I share a story instead? It’s about my friend Paul Grimsland (one of my core bros mention in my Band of Brothers series) whose life and commitment to the whole Gospel could have been included in Stearns book.

Paul (see Hope4Change ad on the lower right) has traveled to the Philippines since 1990 ministering to the poorest of the poor and trying to raise awareness to their plight. I have heard many stories over the years, none more powerful than this one. I can’t tell the story the way Paul relates it but I believe you will be different after reading it…it echoes the heart of the Father. It about a little girl named “Girlie”.

On one trip to the Philippines, Paul visited an AIDS ward in a hospital in Manila. There he saw a little girl laying on a bed in the foyer, her name was Girlie. She had aids, had been abandoned at the hospital by her family and was basically waiting to die. The staff kept her bed in the foyer they didn't have a room for her. No one ever came to visit or comfort her…she was alone. When Paul walked into the ward, Girlie went over, stood next to him and wouldn’t leave his side. Paul asked the staff what she wanted and they told Paul that she probably wanted someone to hug her and she choose him. My friend Paul had a choice…she was covered with open sores…she had aids…she was dying…she needed a father’s hug. What should he do….?

He picked her up in her arms and held her…close…open sores and all. Letting the little girl touch his face and arms and allowing the love of Christ come through his touch.

To me…that’s the whole Gospel in action. Girlie passed away a short time later, her story so moved Paul that he wrote a song (BTW, he’s also a talented musician)…here are the lyrics.

 THE LEAST I COULD DO
Words & Music by Paul Grimsland

On a fold out bed is where you spent your time
Passing the days watching people walk on by
Each day you waited but nobody came
They told me Girlie was your name
No family or friends to show they care
My heart just breaks to see you lying there
When I first saw you I wanted to pass by
But then I looked into your eyes

(chorus)

And the least I could do was hold you for a while
Try to bring you comfort try to make you smile
Taking time and holding you was the least that I could do

I must admit I was taken by surprise
Just holding you would help me realize
To show compassion doesn’t take that much
Just a tender loving touch
I wish that I knew just what to say
To express how you changed me on that day
Then it came your time to go
So by now I guess you know

(chorus)

And the least I could do was hold you for a while
Try to bring you comfort try to make you smile
Taking time and holding you was the least that I could do

There’s no hole in my friend Paul’s Gospel, not one I can see anyways…

"If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself." — St. Augustine of Hippo

Blessings,
Jay

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