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

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Green Grass Ahead

“You're overwhelmed. Freeze was underwhelmed. Why isn't anyone just whelmed”? – Robin from the Young Justice TV show

If my ramble is confusing, I apologize, the whelming of my heart is in full effect and it is searching desperately for the Head Shepherd’s way.  

Life as pastor/shepherd/fellow follower of Christ is an emotional/relational mix of rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep (Romans 12:15). It stretches the contents of your heart daily and often “whelms” you to the tired tears of weariness as you move in as much compassion as that frail heart can muster. In your heart and spirit you wonder…

Did I say the right thing? Did I give what was needed? Did I listen to their heart? Did they hear God in my words?

Many times there are no simple answers to those questions and my sleep suffers because of it. I am so mindful of my words, careful of the weight my position carries and the effect that beautiful mystery has on the folks I journey with. My position as under shepherd encourages this intense collision of hearts and urges a seal of unity in place of otherwise separate lives. To move in such unity requires a surrender unlike any other, one that consistently “whelms” me with its passion.

Thankfully, there is green grass ahead… 

He makes me lie down in green pastures…Psalm 23:2

Green pastures don't just happen—they're made by a heart of love, by a God who knows His sons and daughters. When our hearts are weary and whelmed out… ready to quit, bail, surrender and give in to something less… there is a green pasture ahead. The Good Shepherd is leading us to this place of nourishment and freedom. In this green, lush place, my whelmed self… my failing strength is replaced by His.

My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. Psalm 73:26

So, when I pray with my brothers and sisters, when our stories overlap and blend together, and when the shared humanness of laughter and tears swallows us up as one, my understanding of community breathes with new life. Together we can cry out to the shepherd who knows where to lead us.

From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety. Psalm 61:2

Is your heart “whelmed” today? How can I help you see the green grass just ahead…How can I pray for you?

Monday, July 18, 2016

My Prayer

My brothers and sisters, my heart is heavy with grief for yet another heartbreaking moment in our nation. I offer this simple prayer up as a cry from my own heart and urge you to offer up the same. We must cover this nation with prayer and offer up the only hope there is...  the name of Jesus. I also encourage you to read Psalm 130, a passage that I believe will move you and strengthen you. God bless you all, Jay

Our Father,

We are a hurting nation, a people who have lost their way and chosen another. Evil, violence, injustice and corruption fill the wells from which our nation drinks and it is sickeningly drunk from it's dregs.

Yet you are a God who loves redemption and have delivered it through your son Jesus Christ, help us today to surrender our hearts to His. Your sons and daughters cry out in repentance for this nation, and for the times we your children, have failed to follow your ways. We ask forgiveness for the sins we no longer want to ignore and for the ignorance we hide behind. We humble ourselves, we give ourselves over to your heart, please help us to act justly, and love mercy like you do. Fill our speech with your words, cast down the idols of our opinion, search our hearts and cleanse any wicked way hidden in us.

Give us bold hearts, sound minds... let your love rule over us and help us proclaim the great hope of redemption inside of us to our nation. Make us ministers of your grace and carry the truth of who you are to all we meet. Grant the Church wisdom, direction and the courage to lean into the darkness and bring the light of the Gospel.

I ask for peace and provision for the families struck by these tragedies. I pray that no root of bitterness take hold in their lives. Cover them with your grace and comfort them with your presence. Heal their wounds, heals their hearts and strengthen their spirits.

You are our only hope Father... we proclaim our trust in you!

In Jesus name...amen!