Monday, September 26, 2011

Prayer and Light

Sometimes, I can't think of words to pray, but my thoughts and feelings still go up to the Lord. In a sense, I'm basking in His presence and although I don't have the words, I lift up my heart to God. I know that the Holy Spirit prays for me in those times. (Romans 8:26)

I visualize it as a light shining out the top of my head going to the Lord. When I'm praying with a group of people, I imagine lights coming out of each of our heads and combining as they go straight up to Heaven. What if the world could see this light as a Christian prays. What if our lights were always on? What if it was this light by which we could see?

I think if there was an actual visual, I would pray a lot more often.

I think the Apostle John had a lot to say about light... feel free to read John and 1 John and comment your thoughts.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Forgiven

Fiction

Jeff looked at himself in the mirror. Messy hair. Messy face. Messy life. He cringed. What brought him to the mirror this week was an itch at the end of his nose that wouldn't go away. It was all red and squishy and a slight sharp pain stung him every time he touched it. He took two fingers and squeezed until it pussed.

The rest of his face was spotted. He couldn't tell if it was dirt on his face or dirt on the mirror. The room behind him was a mess. His bed was a single mattress on the floor covered in t-shirts and jeans. Past due notices from the electricity company and the phone company carpeted his small apartment. Styrofoam containers and fast food bags covered his few pieces of furniture.  Finding his nightstand would require an archeological dig.

Jeff stuck his head under the faucet and let the cold water run through his hair. He felt something sting him in the back of the head. He tried to jerk out from the sink, but hit his head on the faucet, knocking it off the sink and spaying water everywhere. He hopped up and down holding his head and sharing a few unsanitary words with the yellowing walls around him.

He pulled his hands in front of his eyes to see if he was bleeding. He wasn't. In fact, his fingers looked immaculate. He turned his hands over and noticed that his fingernails were no longer too long, but perfectly cut and shaped to his fingers. The black line under them was gone and the palms of his hands were clean. He looked down at his clothes and saw a bright white shirt and pants, whiter than he's ever seen. His apartment looked wonderful too. The bed, still a single, was off the floor on its frame and neatly made. His floor was swept clean and his furniture was polished. The sink faucet was fixed and the sink was scrubbed white. his mirror was spotless and so was his reflection. No more pimple on the end of his nose. No more dirt on his face. His hair was neatly parted and the pain in the back of his head was gone. The only thing that wasn't perfect was the look on his face. The perfect looking man in the mirror was horrified.

All of a sudden, a voice spoke. It was a soft one and Jeff wasn't even sure he heard it, but he understood what was said.

"This is how I see you."

As the voice faded away, so did Jeff's perfection. His room returned to the trench warfare he's always known. His face lost its glow while the pimple regained its shine. His clothes tattered themselves to the t-shirt and torn jean shorts he was sleeping in and his hair re-rustled itself into chaos.

Jeff didn't know what to do. He just stood there and for the first time saw the depravity of life around him.

His eyes began to water. His fists clenched as he tried to keep control but he couldn't. He started moving without really watching where he was going. He left the apartment, went down the hall, then down the stairs, then down the street. Before he realized where he was going, he stood before a large white house with a little fence around it. Two cars parked in the driveway. A tire swing hung limp on a tree in the front.

He wiped away the tears and took a step up the walk. But just one. He couldn't do it. Just one step was all he could muster.

The front door opened. A briefcase fell to the ground and the papers inside fanned themselves out on the walk.

"Jeffery?"

Shined black shoes ran down the walk and a father embraced his son for the first time in years. Tears flowed freely and knees buckled. Mom came running with her arms waving and her hair flying behind her. The three of them cried right there down on the walk, one step from the street.

Jeff tried to speak, but no words came out.

"Come inside, Son." Dad choked out. "We still have your room just the way you left it."

"Really?" Jeff asked.

"Well no..." Mom said. "I cleaned it up a little."

"Welcome home, Son."

"I'm sorry."

"Forgiven."


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Should I Get a Regular Job?


Sometimes I feel like I have so much to do, I don't want to do any of it. I have too many interests or too many hobbies or too many ministries. The thing is that I want to do everything, but I have neither the time nor the energy to do so. If I had the money, I could probably employ a handful of people full time to do all the things I want to get done.

Now I'm wondering if I should try and get a secular job. I don't want one. I want to do ministry full time, and I feel that I am, and I have faith that God will sustain me in this time, but it's a hard sell to a prospective wife.

 I have nothing against working. I wouldn't mind the extra money. But I don't really want to give up ministry or more accurately, I don't want to give up the priority of ministry to a job. People with most kinds of jobs need to work when their boss tells them and it must come before their ministry to whomever they minister to. Since I currently work at a church, my employers understand that ministry is important and allow me to have a flexible schedule. I supposed I'm afraid of losing that.

That's why I typically go for jobs like Tutoring or Babysitting or even Substitute teaching where I have the choice to set my hours or to just say no. But it's not steady income and definitely not reliable. So today, I was thinking about looking for a night job at a hotel. When I worked at a hotel... over a decade ago... that makes me feel old... the night shift was from 11pm to 7am. Well that's just three hours later than I currently stay up now. That might work... but not on Saturday night.

I just don't know.

Another option is to try and get into teaching. This would either mean going back to school to get a credential or some educational units (if I'm going to work in a preschool) or teaching at a private school. If I look into it, maybe I could open a traveling private school and go around to student's homes and oversee their work on a weekly basis or something... I don't know. I'm just throwing up ideas.

I'm praying about what to do. I've been approached by a couple of concerned friends on this issue. Perhaps my time of uber-ministry is over and I need to start backing out of a few things. I don't want to. I love the ministries I've been a part of.

Please pray for me.