SpiritFarmer


June 30, 2003, 8:57 am
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Well, my little retreat at the end of last week turned out pretty well. This is the first time I’ve done one, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect or how to go about it. Maybe next time I should go to an abbey and get some help from a spiritual director or something, but I was pretty pleased with how my time went. My main plan was to give myself to God and do a lot of listening. I did that and wrote some notes on what I sensed God saying to me. Some of it was pretty standard, but some of it was unexpected in a refreshing sort of way. One of the things I got some clarity on was the ongoing question of where we’re supposed to focus the church planting efforts. This has been an area of stress, and it’s good to be seeing things a bit better.

One thing that sort of surprised me about the retreat was the amount of reading I was led to do. I took about ten books with me – I thought I was doing this in order to have some reference material within reach as I was processing certain issues. As it turned out, I would be praying and asking God for guidance, and I’d get a sense that I should go read chapter such-and-such from one of the books I brought. Each time it was helpful and set my heart in a good direction. So, while I may have been alone, I had the company of NT Wright, Dallas Willard, Darrell Guder, Eugene Peterson, and a couple of other folks you may be familiar with – St. John, the apostle and King David.

Michelle and I talked quite a bit this weekend, and made some of the very first baby steps toward something that has seemed inevitable over the past few months – relocating. It’s been a tough topic for us to come to grips with, because we really love our house – it’s new, well-designed and built, has amazing views (snow on the mountains in winter – which, granted, only lasts about three weeks around here, but still!), and we have one and a half acres. But we know we’re not supposed to plant a church here, and we need to be closer to the action. Plus, the hour long commute (each way) for Michelle to get to work is getting old. So we drove around some neighborhoods to look at what it’ll cost us to get into a house.

This week I’ll begin looking for work to supplement the household income. We’re trying to balance the thoughts of working efficiently (getting maximum pay for minimum work) with having a job that puts me into the community where I can meet people and develop relationships (but where the tip jar and free pound of coffee per week are the primary perks of employment).



June 29, 2003, 1:19 pm
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Sunday. Michelle and I didn’t “go to” church this morning. Instead we woke up slowly, talked about life, drank coffee on our back porch while looking out over the mountainous view God has blessed us with. We read scripture and prayed together. In a few minutes we’re leaving to go “be the church” with some college students at Lake Poway. Worship is good.



June 26, 2003, 5:42 am
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I’m heading out for a couple days of personal retreat today. I’ll be at the monastic community of Lawrence Welk Resort just north of San Diego. My parents have given me a night in their time share there. Depending on check-in/check-out times, I may not leave the room I’m in while I’m a guest. I just want to pray, write, and mainly listen to God. At the beginning of the year it was my goal to do this at least quarterly, but this is my first one. I’m definitely looking forward to it, though.



June 25, 2003, 10:08 am
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I spent most of yesterday in a basic training thing to be certified as a chaplain for the San Diego chapter of the American Red Cross. It seems like such a simple way to help people through traumatic events in their lives. Heck, I’d even volunteer for a non-chaplain type thing. I’ve had a history of being pretty skeptical about the organization in the past – and the local chapter sure has had some major screw-ups in the handling of donations in the past couple of years, but things do seem to be on the mend lately. Here’s a little piece of Red Cross trivia for those of you who care: The American Red Cross is the only non-profit organization that has a congressional charter and is legally required to exist . . . but they don’t get any federal funding for their basic services.



June 23, 2003, 8:27 am
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Had a good weekend with Michelle these last couple of days. We went to see Finding Nemo, then went to a Thai restaurant for dinner. We also got down to Pacific Beach to check out Coastlands Church. I met the pastor, Evan Lauer, a few weeks ago and wanted to say hello. This guy is a real encouragement to me – he’s stoked on what he’s doing, and he knows his role in the Kingdom.



June 19, 2003, 5:20 pm
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I got a call today asking me to lead a couple of workshops for a Collegiate Summit in July. It’s supposed to be a sort of repeat performance of what I did with my man, Jason Evans last year. This time I think some local pastors are supposed to sit in, though – that might make it worth doing.



June 19, 2003, 5:12 pm
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I’m beginning to gain some clarity on a personal issue that’s been dragging me down a bit recently. It’s a bit hard to explain, so bear with me. I am a fairly bright individual, and have a capacity for some deep thoughts now and again. I’ll freely admit that I am more often inspired by encountering the thoughts of some of my favorite writers (bloggers included) than I am by my own profundity. If I’m good at anything in terms of the thought world, it’s fusing a variety of thinking from different people and different genres of life. One of my favorite words is up there in the subtitle of my blog – Integration.

But in the recent past it seems like I’ve been overly focused on the tasks at hand and I’ve stopped allowing myself to be revolutionized and stirred up by big thoughts. It’s a little ironic in that I’ve actually done a good bit more reading than normal for me over the past few weeks. I’ve read everything from N.T. Wright and Eugene Peterson to John Maxwell and Rick Warren (there’s a good explanation for each of these, I promise).

I think that is part of the reason that over the past few days, in particular, I have sat down at the computer to post some thoughts here and I’ve come up dry. Heck, I even resorted to disclosing my oh-so-slow internet connection issue.

So here’s my little way of kicking my own butt in front of the world. Quit being so dang lazy with your thinking already! You have some powerful good stuff going on in your life, and you’re in community with others that offer stimulating conversation, reading, worship, and life. INTEGRATE!!! Start thinking of new possibilities when it comes to problems in your life and for crying out loud, it wouldn’t hurt you to focus less on your own problems and more on serving others. If you can’t get at least a little excited about what God is doing all around you, then dude, you’re a waste of skin – there are rocks crying out in worship louder than you are.

Whew! That felt gooooood. Nothin’ gets me going like a little kick in the pants now and then. Too bad I had to do it to myself this time. I just hate living such a pitiful small life sometimes. And in case I should be misunderstood here, I have no need to be recognized by others for having big thoughts or any thoughts at all. I just happen to know that I’m capable of big thoughts, I enjoy big thoughts, and based on those two things, I am responsible before God for those big thoughts (which are obviously quite small to him).