Churches are empty. Pews are empty. But the tomb is also still empty! May our hearts and homes be full today.
After worshiping this morning from our home, I mentioned that likely, never before in history, when considering a single day, has the Gospel story of Jesus been heard in as many places as it has today. How awesome! May this message yield a fruitful harvest.
In his letter from a Birmingham jail, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. responded to fellow American clergy who were asking him to wait for a better time to pursue the cause of justice in the South. “Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, ‘Wait,’” he wrote. “But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize and even kill with impunity your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society….when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of ‘nobodiness’—then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.” To call for those suffering to wait is to institutionalize our apathy.
The cries of the oppressed and the weary will continue to resound though many of us sit in comfortable apathy and languid affluence denying our own obligation. And the call of the vicariously human Christ can be heard in the midst of it all, urging us to set aside all that entangles and follow after him and into the very heart of it.
This Sunday, we are looking at the transfiguration of Jesus. As I was considering this revelation of His glory and the words God speaks over His child, a song I had written several years ago based on Psalm 29 came to mind. I took the chorus and a few of the other lyrics and reworked into this. May it bless you today.
“This is My Child, My Beloved One”
With a word of Truth He has come
So, heed these things He speaks
Follow in the way He leads
Let life awaken from the deep
That the nations may see
Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones
Give unto the Lord, glory and strength
Give unto the Lord, the glory due His name
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness
The voice of the Lord is speaking now
Shaking our hearts with peace and power
Your voice breaks the cedars, divides the flames of fire
Shaking the wilderness, the deer gives birth
Your voice on the waters with an awe-full power
Strip bare the trees and everyone in your temple
Do I even need to begin writing about this past month? It was a pesky one and oh, how slow some things seemed. Let’s put it this way – patience and faith were exercised. In the end, we found ourselves home.
Let me mentioned briefly the editing of this video. For some reason, when the month began, I opted to record all shots in slo-mo. As you watch, you may notice that the clips slowly move from slo-mo to normal time. In retrospect, it matched the month well. This is May 2017.
Though I go on in the center of trouble, you will revive me. You will stretch out your hand against the attack of my enemies and Your power will save. —Psalm 138:7
Oh, April … what a month you’ve been!
My good friend, Brian Shilts, released an album this month and gave me permission to use one of the songs in this month’s microvlog. In many ways, I’m in Deep has been a family anthem for the month – often on repeat in our vehicle.
One fun thing to note about the editing of this month’s video: You may have heard that hours after writing this post, on 21 April, we finally had an offer accepted and began taking the next steps toward home ownership. As I was editing this video, it fell into place beautifully to make a shift that very day when things began to turn around for us with an accepted offer … woo! Most of this month’s video clips are shown in reverse (like the madness of a hurricane), but you will see April 21 happily marks the point when things turn around – moving in proper (forward) motion. Keep an eye out for that day as you watch. No matter what comes … this is life and we face it with the Faithful One.
Adrienne and I have been reading through Stream in the Desert by L. B. Cowman. The scripture above and verse below were both offered in the devotion for April 23 … fitting, methinks.
The Eye of the Storm
Fear not that the whirlwind will carry you hence,
Nor wait for its onslaught in breathless suspense,
Nor shrink from the blight of the terrible hail,
But pass through the edge to the heart of the tale,
For there is a shelter, sunlighted and warm,
And Faith sees her God through the eye of the storm.
The passionate tempest with rush and wild roar
And threatenings of evil may beat on the shore,
The waves may be mountains, the fields battle plains,
And the earth be immersed in a deluge of rains,
Yet, the soul, stayed on God, may sing bravely its psalm,
For the heart of the storm is the center of calm.
Let hope be not quenched in the blackness of night,
Though the cyclone awhile may have blotted the light,
For behind the great darkness the stars ever shine,
And the light of God’s heavens, His love will make thine,
Let no gloom dim your eyes, but uplift them on high
To the face of your God and the blue of His sky.
The storm is your shelter from danger and sin,
And God Himself takes you for safety within;
The tempest with Him passes into deep calm, And the roar of the winds is the sound of a psalm. Be glad and serene when the tempest clouds form; God smiles on His child in the eye of the storm.
Until a few months ago, we had never thought we’d be purchasing a house. Yet, as we found God clearing the way for our move to Fort Wayne, it seemed home ownership would be a wise financial decision. Thus began our search for a house. A few days ago, I began writing an extensive post about our personal journey of hunting a home during the early months of 2017 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It’s been an experience! We’ve learned such a good deal. This real estate business is kind of whack and the housing market is not friendly to buyers at the moment. Today, I’ve scrapped that post and want to share a simple truth that’s begun settling on me.
At the end of January I posted about our return to Indiana and the many things into which we were headed. Let me first give a brief update on that list.
a move from Minnesota to Indiana – ✅
transitioning from one job into others – ?️ slowly
establishing Typewheel as a business – ?️ also slowly
purchase of a new home – ? ? ? ?
finding health insurance – ✅
purchase of a new car – still ?
arrival of baby – ⏲️ under two months!
In many ways, that last one feels like a deadline for the others. Only God knows. We’re learning again to trust and wait.
So, back to home lessons. I (along with my wife, our realtor, and our kids) have invested thousands of hours in search of a house for our family. It should not be this difficult to pay someone $100,000. I have countless messages like the following…
We’ve learned a lot through this process and have come up against such challenges and discouragement. Through it all, you have surrounded us with encouragement and prayer. We thank you! We have had such wonderful opportunity to connect with our pastor’s family as they graciously house us in their basement. We recognize that God is using this time to work good things, even if it may not always be easy on us. The kids have been troopers. I can’t imagine how they process and handle marching in and out of countless homes. This week, after our fourth offer being rejected, we finally decided that I would alone begin visiting with our realtor. This resulted in a fifth offer that is currently pending. Sounds as if it may be up against six other offers or so. We expect to hear the seller’s decision tonight. We appreciate your continued prayers.
It can be so easy to get caught up in the hunt, in the market, in the game, in the bidding wars, etc. Now … to the truth that has taken such time hit me … a thing that was once so clear and has bee made clear again. We have not been led here to purchase a house nor make some financial investment in a property, but to establish a home and nurture a place of living and life. Five or ten years down the road, should we look to sell our house, I will not be concerned as to whether we’ve lost 5-10 thousand dollars. However, I will look back and ask whether we’ve found ourselves settled for a time, healthy, and home.
Oy! March! I think this video does a decent job of capturing the scattered circus. What it doesn’t capture is the crazed Fort Wayne housing market in which houses are sold only hours after being listed. We continue our search. The new Pip (i.e. person in progress) arrives in about 10 weeks! Praying for some settling before then. We continue to trust God. He has called, led, and provided. Though rarely have we taken a path of least resistance, often have we found it good. Easy? No. Good? Yes. Enjoy this look at month one in our new home of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
You can tell life is upon us like a thunderstorm when any regularly blogging is swept away. We’ve been overwhelmed with activities, transitions, and emotions this month. More and more I have found it important to keep up with this microvlogging. I have found that in the midst of so much daily go-go, taking an intentional moment each day to slow myself enough to look around, acknowledge the present moment, take a deep breath, and reset has been healthy. Assembling the month-end video has also provided me some good time to process.
Be sure to listen through the end. I caught a bit of Aelah’s original bedtime lullaby the night before we departed Minnesota. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement as we navigate these transitions! God keep you today.
One of my small endeavors this year is to microvlog. Every day, I intend to capture a small snippet of video. I’ve done well. There have been days that I’ve nearly reached bedtime and realized that I’d not yet captured any moments. Overall, however, I have been able to find a few moments each day to document. Initially, I intended to capture all video via Twitter Live or some other live streaming medium. Though I’ve not done this every day, I have found it to be a useful means by which to keep myself accountable. This microvlog has required a small bit of intentionality every day – a habit which I am happy to nurture. And, oh, what beauty came when I began to pull these moments together and frame them with music! I hope you enjoy this brief glimpse into our life – January 2017.
I recently shared some bittersweet news with folks here at the Prayer League during morning prayer. Some of our family and friend are also aware of these upcoming changes.
As our family aims to remain faithful to God’s call, we will be moving on from our current position of involvement with the Prayer League and will take up a new involvement.
For several months, Adrienne and I have been sensing that there may be some “next thing” for our growing family. In early October, I was presented with a opportunity to consider service as a worship leader at The Church at Jacob’s Well, a small mission-start church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This is a church I attended while living in Fort Wayne nearly 10 years ago during the church’s beginnings. After a few months of prayer and wrestling, conversations with leadership here at the Prayer League, and our recent visit to Indiana, we continue to encounter confirmation and receive affirmation regarding this avenue of service. There is a holy sense that this is the reality into which we are to be living. Thus, we’ve begun taking steps to realize and live into it.
We are planning to return to Indiana at the end of February. So much is up in the air at the moment and we are, somewhat blindly, stepping into an unknown – trusting that God will give us a way forward. Please join us in prayer during these days. We are and will continue to be, I’m sure, in desperate need of your prayers and encouragement.
As I consider what awaits in the coming months, I sometimes wonder how we’ll make it through. We’ll make it through, right?
a move from Minnesota to Indiana
transitioning from one job into others
purchase of a new home
finding health insurance
purchase of a new car
arrival of baby
Whew. Yes. Prayer and encouragement are welcome.
We are hoping to maintain a relationship with the Prayer League in which I would take up a contracted position developing and maintaining our online properties. I also hope to serve as worship leader at The Well and will be looking for additional freelance work in the space of web development. If you have leads, let me know or direct them to my services online at typewheel.xyz.
It has been an honor to live and serve alongside folks at the Prayer League these past 4½ (nearly 5) years. This community and life is all that our kids have known and we are thankful for the ways in which God has worked His love into their lives because of our involvement here. What memories!
It was also an honor to live and serve alongside the folks of Youth Encounter. This was the blessed community that first drew us to Minnesota. We may not have done well to maintain contact with many of you who remain here in the Cities, but we are thankful for the times when we were able to gather over the past few years. God bless you!
Thank you all so much for your continued prayers! We trust that God will continue to have His way among us all as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We work and aim for His glory. God bless you this week and into the new year.
I’ll try to keep you filled in on the mad happening of the coming months. If you want to follow along, you can subscribe to new posts above.
We’ve been reading through Zechariah during Wednesday morning Bible study at the Prayer League. I’ve read this book a number of times and have always been struck with wonder and beauty. Two images struck me this week as we considered this vision that met Zechariah in the night.
Then I raised my eyes and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. So I said, “Where are you going?”
And he said to me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.”
And there was the angel who talked with me, going out; and another angel was coming out to meet him, who said to him, “Run, speak to this young man, saying: ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it. For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’” —Zechariah 2:1-5
Here is Israel, having returned to Jerusalem and considering how they might rebuild. They’d begun the task, become discouraged, abandoned the project, and now face the prophetic voices of Haggai and Zechariah calling them to return to the work. As they consider again taking up the task, it would only seem natural to pull out the blueprints and the measuring tape – as the angel has done here in this vision. But, if I may paraphrase the other angel (who comes with an authoritative word), “Why is it that you measure? Do you not know? This city shall have no walls, for it will be filled with people and the Lord Himself shall surround you. His fire shall be about you and His glory among you.”
Can you picture it? Imagine the farmer setting fire to field. Imagine the forest raging with flame. In this same way, God is to surround His people. The walls are on the move, purifying the land, stripping it of old growth so that something new might be born.
Violence shall no longer be heard in your land,
Neither wasting nor destruction within your borders;
But you shall call your walls Salvation,
And your gates Praise.
The people of God do not find their place according to how they measure up, but according to the fires of Salvation. They enter in with Praise and dwell in the glory of the Living Son! This is the people of God. This is who we are, Church! We live within the walls of salvation for Jesus has come to restore and establish the glory of God in our midst.
O, that our hearts would burn as the hearts of those who walked the road to Emmaus.
And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” —Luke 24:32
Why should our hearts not also burn? With words, we measure reality. It is here – as we walk and talk with one another, as we retell our stories – that we grapple with the substance of our existence and probe the depths of His mystery. With words, we attempt to size up the shape of this life and capture the tick-tock of eternity.
But then… God moves.
“Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!” —Zechariah 2:13
He is aroused and our mouths are stopped. Words fail and our walls fall. He is up to something more magnificent than we can imagine. Oh, do you see it? The beauty! The flames burn wide and far – even beyond the horizon now. It is salvation to every nation, tribe, and tongue.