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

Friday, September 30, 2011

River Song

 

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And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. Ezekiel 47:9

I spent a few hours by myself today, down by the Hudson River (pictured above), just a brief drive from my house. I went there to mediate and enjoy the beauty of God's creation...I was surprise how God choose to speak to me there,

First, there was a lot of letting go...my mind had to de-tangle the knots of everydayness, my spirit needed to remove itself from the noise of the now. Yes...letting go...bunches of it.

You don't "try" to enjoy God's beauty...you respond to the music of it. Enjoyment comes from our response and participation to the song of God in nature...His music of creativity. Listening to the song of the river today I hear the Master's voice. In every gentle wave at my feet I heard these words.

Waves of mercy...waves of grace...
Overlapping your sorrow, washing your feet...
I'm bigger than all your hold...let go and flow with me

I came to the river, not feeling burdened or troubled, yet God spoke to those areas. Rather, He sung to those places through the beauty of His creation! The artist in me responded to the...ARTIST in me, the Father of all creation.

How did I respond?

With worship...with wonder...and a song of my own.

Do you hear the music? Do you hear God's song? Take a break and take a listen...

God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

 

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bad Sheep - All Cracked Up

 

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The Bad Boys of Wool are venturing into new territory but with their usual...unique view on life. Hope your enjoy their latest  adventure!

 

bad sheep no 44

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Elder (Life) Prayer



Tomorrow I step back into Eldership at my church, (Bridge Builders Community Church) and while I still covet your prayers, I want to share one with you. This is the prayer that the Father gave me this morning after reading Acts 17...the explanation for how it relates to the prayer will have to wait for another post. The role of elder is just another servant muscle for God to flex in and through me...that's a good thing.

I'm praying that the muscles that God is flexing in you will have maxium impact on your life and all you touch.

Blessings, Jay


Father,

I need you. Eldership is more than a position or title, it's an extension of your heart
through me to all your children. Express your love and delight through all I do in your name.

My King, I need you. I need your sovereign rule and reign in my life. When I bend my knee to you I am better gifted to serve. The spirit of humbleness I need is only found at your feet in worship.

My Savior, I need you. Without a Messiah I am lost, desperate for hope. This is the message and the prayer of my life...let your life live through mine.

Amen

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Please Don't Stand By

 

Soulfari will be on standby while I post a few reruns this week but I’m asking you to NOT standby. Most of this week is prep time for me...on Sunday I step into eldership (along with another brother) at my my church (Bridge Builders Community Church) and I could use your prayers. This is a step that I do not take lightly and already feel the weight of it...that is why I'm trying to take some time to reflect on all God is asking. So, would you please pray for Mike and I as we enter a new phase of our journey with Christ? I appreciate you all and thank you with all my heart.

If you want to drop me a note, a prayer request, advice, whatever…just send it to jcdude56@gmail.com

I'm re-posting a series on Band of Brothers that I hope will encourage you all. Blessings, Jay

 

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We Stand Alone Together – Part 1

It takes two men to make one brother. ~Israel Zangwill

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Proverbs 17:17 ESV

Recently I have been watching my DVD copy of the HBO series Band of Brothers, which tells the story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in World War II. Their motto was…Currahee! We stand alone together! I love this series, and I love listening to the actual accounts of the men who went through extreme sacrifice for their country and for each other. Years have past and these men talk about their “brothers” like they were still in the foxholes with them…their bond was that intimate and deep.

I have been musing about this for days now and the Father led me through an interesting exercise. The outcome of that exercise was mind blowing and I found out this…I am 313 years old…in friend years. Let me explain the exercise and give you a gist of what I discovered.

I wrote down my own band of brothers, using 13 (of my closest friends) as a cutoff number (there are 13 soldiers in the above graphic) and tallied up the number of years we have been friends. Here’s the rough breakdown.

Friend 1 = 47 years
Friend 2 = 37 years
Friend 3 = 35 years
Friend 4 = 35 years
Friend 5 = 35 years
Friend 6 = 20 years
Friend 7 = 20 years
Friend 8 = 20 years
Friend 9 = 20 years
Friend 10 = 18 years
Friend 11 = 11 years
Friend 12 = 7 years
Friend 13 = 3 years

Of these 13 there are five men who I meet monthly with in a group called PointMen, in that group the friend years add to 76. Do you want to know my discovery?

I am rich with friendship years.

I do not compare the stuff my band of brothers has gone through with the sacrifice that members of Easy Company made but we have locked arms through some difficult times…and remained friends. There have been times we have stood alone…together.

We have sat with each in hospital rooms and ER’s, consoled each other when dreams died, encouraged each other when hope were fading and challenged each other when we needed a kick in the pants. We have been together at celebrations and funerals, parties and prayer meetings, vacations and retreats…the common bond of Christ has kept us. I believe in them and I trust they have my back, in deed and in prayer.

Do you have a Band of Brothers?

Do they have your back…and do you cover theirs?

Bless ya!
Jay

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Speak Up


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“Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.”
- Oliver Wendell Holmes

Early in my life (grade school) I had a huge speech impediment. How bad was it? Well, let’s just say that I sounded like I was speaking in tongues long before I knew what that meant! I’m not sure how it happened (I suspect my worn out 4th grade teacher) but I found myself enrolled in a speech therapy class with a few other kids. We met once a week with a teacher-therapist person who had the unfortunate job of getting us all to speak clearly.

I don’t remember all the speaking issues represented in our sessions but one kid was a huge stutterer. Me…I was different, I slurred my way through the English language. When I got excited or nervous, I would slur all my words into one long word. Many, many consonants and vowels were injured along the way.

So, every week we would gather in a small room and try our best to repeat the words on the flash cards the speech expert would hold up…this was NOT a good plan. Between my slurring and the other kid’s stuttering I’m sure the other kids never had a change to try their hand (or their tongue) at this exercise. After weeks of slurring and stuttering flash card madness the sessions suddenly stopped. I’m guessing we drove that poor woman to leave and join a nunnery, taking (happily) a vow of silence.

Since those days of slurring sloppiness, God has helped me overcome most of my slippery diction. What remains is mostly unnoticeable and something I use to good-naturedly poke fun at myself. However, for many years I was afraid to raise my voice, to speak in front of people despite the call I felt on my life. I allowed my speech impediment dictate my boldness instead of trusting the Father to help form the words correctly as they rolled off my tongue. It took years, but finally I learned how to speak up and say what was on my heart. I have no problem standing in front of people and speaking and even if I mispronounce a word (or a few dozen) it doesn’t keep me from sharing.

What made the difference?

Believing that God gave me voice…that there was value in what I had to share and even in the way I share it. I’m not the greatest orator, the most compelling speaker or the best communicator you can listen to…but I have a God given voice with a message uniquely mine.

And so do you.

The message of what God has done in your life is huge. It needs to be heard, it needs to be told…by you. It’s too valuable to be stilled by imagined inadequacies, by the enemy’s reminders of what you lack. There is power in the voice the Father has given you…all you have to do is speak up…and trust.

“For I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you!” Luke 21:15 NLT

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What I Don't Understand

 

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Grace, full and free...given to me

The cost of Messiah love...spent on me

A King who washes the filth of feet and my soul

Mercy, undeserved and poured out on me

Forgiveness, mine...because He died for me

I don't understand any of these but I rejoice in all of them. What about you...what don't you understand but rejoice in?

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fatherhood Tested – A 9/11 Response

 

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” - 2 Chronicles 7:14

“There are thoughts which are prayers. There are moments when, whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees.” - Victor Hugo

This is something I wrote ten years just days after the tragedy of 9/11. Like many Americans I struggled for meaning in the midst of overwhelming grief. I wrote and shared through the lens of fatherhood…that’s where it hit me the most. Today I pray for all the families that lost loved ones that horrible September day.

I’ve been struggling for words lately. As there is some distance (time wise) from the events of September 11th, I’m afraid for me (and many others) there isn’t much in the form of distance for my emotional response. My heart breaks when I read the stories of those who lost ones in the tragedies on the ground and in the air. I look in on the peaceful sleeping figures of my children at night and wonder what emotions are in the heart of parents who lost children that terrible day. I make vows to appreciate more, to worry less and yet fell guilty when “normal life” invades my space and I forget for the moment that evil took normal and shoved it down the throats of America. The stories of courage and sacrifice amaze me and make me realize that such stories have always been part of our country and of the Church.

We are a people awakened to a great evil; we find ourselves challenged to have courage and the spirit of sacrifice in all we do from this day forward. 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 fervently in what the Father says and then obey Him with the tenacity of committed men.

It’s what our families needs…it’s what our nation needs.

“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

Blessings, Jay

 

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bad Sheep - OT Time

 

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I have been crazy busy lately...so much so that Soulfari has been quiet for a few days. So, what better way to break that silence then the Bad Boys of Wool! Seems like Chop is adding to his frequent flyer miles again...

bad sheep no. 43

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Character Study

 

I been thinking about passion and zeal…the full throttled excitement of following Christ and diving into all that He has for us. This musing and reflection led me to pray for passion to be released in my life…a good prayer don’t you think? Perhaps…but the Father spoke to me about a different approach.

“And endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Romans 5:4

The channel for our passions, for our zeal must be our character. This character, forged by trials, tests, difficult circumstances and even successes, is a hope producer. Character produces hope because it can be counted on. It’s dependable, it’s noticeable, it takes a stand and doesn’t back down. Character shows up and hangs in when times get tough…it is a hero waiting for release.

Character is the throttle on my passion…and I need one…it controls the flow, regulates the release and…makes it more fruitful. I believe with all my heart that we need passion on this journey with Christ but it must be channeled through the character He imparts into us. This way we can passionately produce hope…and share it with people who desperately need it.

“Strong feelings do not necessarily make a strong character. The strength of a man is to be measured by the power of the feelings he subdues not by the power of those which subdue him." - William Carleton

What do you think? Is character and passion a good mix?

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