My apologies to those of you who have Google Reader and came looking for this post... I put it up a couple of days ago, thought better of it, put it up again, took it down, edited it, etc. ... but here it is, back up again. And I think it *might* stay this time... it *is* something I'm thinking about, for all that I'm not sure I'm explaining what I'm thinking all that well.

Being a leader in a 20-somethings ministry, the whole dating/relationship question is one that comes up a lot in conversation... pretty much anywhere we are - restaurants, bathrooms, road trips, parties, church services - you name it - any time, any place, someone is either thinking about it or talking about it. I'm struck often as I watch the "goings on" by how emotionally driven we can be. I'm right there, too, sometimes, but having had the privilege of watching several of my closest friends get married and start families, and listening to them talk about the joys and struggles of marriage, things they're glad they've been through, things they would have done differently if given the chance... I find myself with two thoughts: 1) if and when I do date/court/marry, I want to do it *wisely* - which means, to a certain extent, not letting how I *feel* determine my actions, or rather, submitting my emotions (as fun as the giddiness of "falling in love" can be) to God and seeking His kingdom purposes first and foremost, even in the context of relationship; and 2) for all that I'm about to present my subjectively objective thoughts on the subject, I'm also really looking forward to a few sparks someday...

Anyway, without further ado: whack two, three, four - something - at SPARKS:

Have you ever seen Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? It's a great movie. Lousy sets (the result of a poor budget - no one knew how successful it would turn out to be); great story... Well, okay... actually it's terrible, it's so freaking sappy, and some of the lyrics are simply hysterical... ("Bless your beautiful hide" - and that's all I have to say about that...) but I have loved this movie since the first time I saw it, and probably always will. It's a "good" story... mostly because everyone ends up "happily ever after." All seven girls end up married to seven colossal jerks who have learned how not to be jerks anymore. It's great.

There's a song in the movie called "Goin' Courtin'" in which Milly, the woman who married the oldest brother, is teaching the other six guys how to treat women properly, and she uses this phrase in the song: "goin' sparkin'." What is that?! I looked it up last night. To spark is to woo, or to court, as per the 1787 definition. (Don't you feel all historically, grammatically, and musically educated now?) :)

Sparking. I think it's somewhat telling that we would (at some point in our history) call it that. We don't use "woo" or "courtship" all that much either, anymore - although, thanks to Josh Harris, those words are back in the 20-30somethings' frame of reference. There's something there - an underlying belief that there's something "sparky" to this thing called "love" - and there is - but my question is, have we blown that out of proportion? And I would say we have... or at least, Hollywood has, and we've believed them...

Attraction's important, and I'm not belittling it - it needs to be there; I get that. But is that - or should it be - where it all starts? I'm not so sure. For example, it is a fact that arranged marriages statistically do extremely well. I actually know someone who married someone his parents chose for him. Difficult? Oh, yes. It was a tough decision for him, culturally, spiritually - he wrestled with it for ages. But wherever they are, I am sure they are happy -because I knew him - a little, anyway - and it's just the way it would go, because of the kind of person he was, and because of God in him (and in her)... So. Spark? Definitely wasn't there for him at all when he first found out about "the plan." But I'll betcha it grew over time...

And no, I can't prove it. But I'm guessing, all the same, that most happily married people would not use the word "spark" to describe what they feel when their beloved is puking into a trash can on the other side of the bed in the middle of the night. Nor would they use it when their spouse has said or done something so thoughtless that spitting tacks feels preferable to "working it out." On a different note, one of my married friends says "spark" turns up in the weirdest places for men, too - some guys find the sight of their wives folding laundry to be completely irresistible. (Personally, I find this strange, but okay...) :) All of which is to say -> "spark" - interesting concept, but not necessarily completely necessary at all times - in my humble, unprofessional, and certain lack of experience.

The Bible says that charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (Proverbs 31:30). This is the sort of woman I would really like to be. The sort of woman, honestly, that I think any (single) guy ought to be ready to fall for. Not indiscriminately, of course, but seriously....

I heard Henry Cloud giving an interview on Moody radio this past weekend, about his new book, The Secret Things of God (which I am now reading), and one of the things he said that jumped out at me was this - something to the effect of how everyone's looking for that 'perfect' person - but 'perfection' doesn't exist. Nobody's 'perfect.' And ultimately what it comes down to is that one day, you just need "to covenant with someone to seek after perfection together."

I am a hopeless romantic, so don't let all this practicality fool you. I love sappy movies, true love stories, Christian romance books (well, the few that are well-written, anyway) - I'm a sucker for roses and daisies - I will not say nay to a box of chocolates (okay, really, people, it's chocolate...) - and I hope some day to say that I've found that "perfect" person. But perfect doesn't mean he's going to get it all right. Perfect, actually, means he'll probably screw it up a lot, and so will I, but we will love each other anyway. Jesus, in Matthew 5: 38-48 defines 'perfection' as loving people the way God loves them. We may never get there in this life, but that's something to chase after, isn't it? Especially in marriage, I would think, given all the symbolism it's gained as the Church is referred to as the Bride of Christ...

So, spark? Sure, that would be nice. But I think I would so much rather wake up next to someone with whom I've committed to do life, and vice versa - than to wake up next to someone I was attracted to for five seconds and married in a fit of starry-eyed bliss.

Elisabeth Elliot, in her book Passion and Purity, tells of a young man whom she says "seems to have made a career of falling in and out of love." He meets someone, but can't "maintain the feelings," he says. This is part of what she wrote to him in response:

About this business of falling out of love. Everybody does it, you know. Sometimes before they get married, but always afterwards.... There is something to be said for making an adult choice and sticking to it. "Being in love, wrote C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, "is a good thing, but it is not the best thing... It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all.... But of course ceasing to be 'in love' need not mean ceasing to love. a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask and receive from God..."*

a deep unity
maintained by the will
deliberately strengthened by habit
reinforced by grace

Somehow that just sounds so much better than sparking... tho I wouldn't complain about that either. :)

*Passion and Purity, by Elisabeth Elliot - p. 180-181


I know it's been a little bit of a lot quiet here of late... at least in terms of anything deep. Lots I'm processing, lots to say eventually - still trying to spit it out, and still trying to decide what's worth saying. I don't know - I'm just feeling pretty quiet these days...

But a friend sent me this link today, and I wanted to share it with you; I actually heard Louie Giglio give this talk in person last year, and it was a great night... There's a lot in this clip worth hearing - but be sure to watch all the way to the end. It's absolutely incredible how amazing God is.


Google Fun

yep. i'm procrastinating. trying not to think about anything all that serious. so a bit more fun, eh? :)

My Personal Favorites from the Google Search Terms that have turned up my blog so far this year:

fundamental steps in vallet dancing - which is... what? (i shall let your imaginations have a field day with that one. my mental image involves a number of cars, a fancy hotel, and lots of valets in matching clothes singing and dancing...)

shift in justification in 2008 - we're justifying things differently this year? excellent.

rock throwing record - oooh. what is it? and did they hit anything?!

leaving cupboard doors open - people from Belgium and Portland have wondered about this... apparently I'm not alone, and it's an international phenomenon, as I know people in Australia and Indiana who do it, too...

caddishness - lol... there's a fair amount of that in the world, i'm sorry to say. i hope they got to watch the video...

polite way to call someone bald - this was from someone in the Netherlands - is it not rude there?

why did they call Elisha baldhead? - um... lol.

baldhead poems - i only know of one....

gecko falls on arm - i am sooooo sorry that happened to you. have fun with all that laundry, and invest in clay pots. they're going to have a booming market thanks to you... oh, wait...

laundry fundamental - you need to actually do it if you want clean clothes.... (?!) (sidenote: staying away from geckos will ensure that you do less laundry)

going up to the mountain - someone in Switzerland - that's why this is funny.

universe shift prophecy - the universe is... WHAT again?!

deciding what to preach - i'm not sure this blog will help you with that...i dunno. maybe. :)

falling off the bandwagon - it happens to all of us. get back in. or start hiking. someone will pick you up eventually. :)

New Year's Resolution Parable - is there one? cool...

weird things you ought to know - i'm sure you found a few...

pronounce splagchnizomai - gesundheit

fundamental of thought - hm. i'll have to think about that...

Random fact - somewhere in the world, at least once a week, someone looks up the lyrics to "Trust and Obey" (I cannot even imagine what it would be like to have that kind of clout as a song-writer... wow.)

And three that just made me smile:

and hope does not disappoint us

to be happy in Jesus

never wear shoes

Ten Random Things That Make Me Happy

Rob's tagged me in a meme that I could take very literally... but I'm not feeling nearly that precocious tonight. Lol... enjoy it; it's rather unusual for me to choose whatever the opposite of precocious is when Rob provides the opportunity for me to be precocious... which happens a lot...

So... Ten Random Things That Make Me Happy:

1) Jesus (although He is certainly not random)
2) my name (ok, so i had to be a little bit precocious...)
3) sunshine
4) daisies
5) being loved
6) sitting with a friend in silence and not feeling the slightest bit awkward
7) chocolate
8) 400 thread count sheets
9) playing guitar
10) singing at the top of my lungs in the middle of nowhere

That took me less than five minutes - and there's more - who starts these things, anyway? Ten Things - like you can limit it to that.... sheesh.

Consider yourself tagged if you want to be. :)

getting away

So... you know how I said last week that one of the things I wanted to do was just "get away"? I'm finding that to be a literal thing right now... I've got a week's vacation in June and I want to go somewhere where I can just spend 3-5 days on retreat with my guitar, a journal, a Bible and Jesus. Anyone have any suggestions on where? (Cheaper is better. I am not quite a poor, starving grad student, but I am close.) :)

the wind is blowing

"How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!" - Psalm 133:1

There's been a lot of talk around the blogosphere lately about "church" - what it is, how to "do" it, how not to do it, the institutional church vs. the "Acts 2" church vs. the house church vs....(insert any type/model of church here), etc. I'm still taking it all in, reading posts and comments, and I'm not sure I'm 100% ready to jump into the fray (not that it really feels like one). I am sure I will probably never be 100% ready to "take a side," per se. I'm not sure there even should be sides... But I read something the other day that cleared something up for me that I'm not sure I even realized was cloudy...

You can find the full text of this here. It's a book by Rick Joyner called The Vision. The Vision is just what it sounds like - it's a record of a prophetic vision. I'm not going to defend it; people I know trust this man, and I've read the book, and it sits right with me. We all come at the prophetic from different standpoints, and I respect that, so do with it what you like - but hear me out on this bit, ok? If you are reading it, scroll down a bit to a section called "The Wind of the Spirit." I'll put it in context a bit for you, and quote the part that's relevant, but I'd encourage you to read the whole thing sometime when you have the time. I've learned a lot from this book.

The Vision is incredibly allegorical and begins with a battle scene - a description of the battle that Christians fight on their way up to the mountain of the Lord, the various things that we will wrestle with, and the many ways in which we can be wounded. The author has at this point in the vision ascended the mountain of the Lord (on which the battle is raging, as well as below on the plains), he has worshiped Christ in the Garden up on the mountain top, and has now been sent back down to the battle to aid his brothers and sisters in Christ. He is, at the moment, in the company of an eagle, who begins to flap his wings so that a gentle breeze begins to blow. This breeze is later identified as the wind of the Spirit. And as the wind blows, the wounded begin to worship with deep sincerity, and then those on the mountainside begin to worship as well....

"At first there was some discord between the worship that was coming from the different levels," writes Joyner, "but after a time, everyone on every level was singing in perfect harmony. Never on earth had I heard anything that beautiful..."

After a time, the wind stops blowing and when he asks why, the eagle explains that it is because the wounded are now whole, and that the Holy Spirit has begun to bring about the unity that is required for the upcoming battle. "True worship can heal any wound," the eagle tells him, and explains how, as the body of Christ, His blood flows through us. In our physical bodies, blood flows to the wounded parts and brings healing - and so it is with the spiritual body of Christ - the church. His blood flows to all who are wounded - through the rest of His body. (You should really go read that section - the author said it so much better.)

But isn't that a beautiful picture? (Ephesians 4 provides a good backdrop for this; esp. v.15-16.)

In the fall of 1993 I was part of a Vineyard church, and I cannot tell you how many times in the 5 years I attended that church it was prophesied over me that I was to write and sing songs of freedom over the nations. I lost count. And I believe it to be true. I have no idea how God will bring it about, what it will look like in the long run; I suspect it will be much different, and much better than I have imagined...

I've talked before about the first time I fasted and the call I felt God gave me specifically that day for my life. It has a lot to do with bringing healing and wholeness to the broken; among other things: loosing the chains of injustice and untying the cords of the yoke, setting the oppressed free and breaking every yoke... rebuilding the ancient ruins and ... raising up the age-old foundations; (being a) Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings... (from Isaiah 58)

Repairing broken This sounds... familiar, somehow....

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord... - Ephesians 2:19-21

Those walls?

Yes. I think so... and I think I knew it, I just hadn't made the connection that worship was the key to rebuilding the wall... I'd disconnected them as two parts of my calling, not realizing it was all part of the same thing.

Over at A Former Leader's Journey, Barb posted her thoughts on this whole church/community question that some of us have been thinking about, and my friend Sara commented on that post. One of the things Sara said jumped out at me immediately:

"Here's what I think. Community and worship have to be two sides of the same coin. You can't have the kind of community God calls us to without doing worship together. Real worship. And you can't really worship with people unless you're willing to do the nitty-gritty-living-in-each-other's-lives sort of community . . ."

And that gets tricky. Which is why we need the wind of the Holy Spirit to blow over and through us, to breathe life back into us, healing back into us. Some of the wounds we suffer were caused by others in the church. (This is explained with vivid imagery earlier on in The Vision.) Those wounds need to be healed. One of the ways that healing will come is through our worship together. When our eyes are fixed on Him, everything else eventually becomes what it was meant to be. Eventually. Some of it may take a lifetime to be set right. But healing, freedom, wholeness - it's possible.

"At first there was some discord between the worship that was coming from the different levels, but after a time, everyone on every level was singing in perfect harmony. Never on earth had I heard anything that beautiful..."

We are all in different places, and there's a bit of discordance at the moment... but it does not need to stay that way. Nor will it - because the wind is blowing...

early-morning watchfulness

I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in Your Word.
My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on Your promises.
- Psalm 119: 147-148

I woke up at 3:30am this morning. I have no idea why. I woke up with the words to song a friend and I are writing in my head, and I can't exactly go work on it, as it's a piano song, and everyone else in the house is still asleep. So I've just been laying in bed, praying and thinking, and wondering what's up with this... not feeling particularly a direction towards anything except just being with Jesus. So it's me, Jesus, a little Josh Schicker music in the background, and a partially blank screen.. Anything could happen now... lol.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope,
My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
- Psalm 130:5-7

There are so many things in life we wait for. At breakfast with some dear young friends, about a week or so ago, I told a pre-schooler she needed to wait a minute for something. Her older brother at the wise old age of six observed very profoundly, "There are a lot of waits in life." I totally cracked up. If he only knew! "Why, yes, there are, dear." "You know, like for birthdays and Christmas and things." lol... yes, those are really hard to wait for. Tho I don't mind waiting for the next birthday as much as I maybe once can take a little longer to get here; I'm okay with that...

What are you waiting for? And what do you do while you wait? There are a lot of things I'm waiting for, have been waiting for, still am waiting for, may wait till kingdom come for... waiting is kind of a theme in my life, and probably always will be... it's just life. But waiting was never meant to be like waiting at the bus stop, twiddling your fingers, waiting for the bus to show up, totally wasting time, unproductive. Waiting is time, time to be spent doing something. But what?

I would propose that we are to be waiting on the Lord, and that it's an incredibly active thing. It's getting in the Word, spending time in His presence, getting to know Him better, becoming more like Him. Waiting is a season of preparation for something else. There's a very real sense in which we will always be waiting, in this life anyway, because this life is the prologue to a very beautiful story - it may even be just the first paragraph...

I've felt a pull of late to just get away and get quiet. A lot of stuff in my life is just getting put aside right now, and it may not always be that way, but I have been so busy these past few months that I think somewhere along the way, I lost a part of myself without realizing I'd done it... I'm not sure how to explain that well - I was still me - but I wasn't... centered. Whole. Completely healthy. I got thoroughly tired. And I didn't have time. So there are things now with which I am - at least for now - just done. School. 4 more classes to go, and I'll get to them eventually. Just not now. And I stepped down from leading worship at my church. That one surprised even me... But I felt the most glorious freedom even as I did it. I'm not going to not lead worship - I'm still at Torch, and probably will be for awhile. I actually have more time to pour into that now, and I'm so glad for that.

And what to do with the rest of the time that is suddenly free? Well, I'm going to paint. Finish a couple of art projects I've had going for a year. Write. Read. Watch movies. Hang out with my friends, and maybe make some new ones. Bike. Journal. Breathe. And get away with the Lord to just sit at His feet and listen to His voice. He's taught me so much already this year about hearing Him - and the fact that I actually do - and now I just want to hear what He has to say, and follow His lead - wherever that may be. I've had this unshakable sense for a few months now that there is something new, just around the corner... tho I have no idea what it is.

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." - John 3:8

That's kind of an exciting way to live, don't you think? :) I have no idea what's next... so I'm just going to wait for it.

defense mechanisms

I've been thinking a lot about defense mechanisms lately - the things we do to "protect" ourselves, the way we try to hide, the way this gut-instinct to hide originated with the fall of mankind, and how we've been trying to (and not trying to) overcome it ever since... and the flip side of it is, of course, that God is our protector and our hiding place and the One who overcomes... so if we would just run to Him instead of diving for the bushes, we'd be a lot better off (and in less danger of poison ivy...)

I've got to preach this summer, and deciding what to preach on is definitely a process. Write what you (preach what you) know, right? Well, I know a lot about failure... and I know a lot about self-defense...

all of which was a really intellectual way of leading into sharing with you a video that brings tears to my eyes every time I see it...

HUWAKK - hah-wah-kuh-kuh.... lol...
Defense-mechanism #1 - laughter...

time, tempo, trouble - and learning to fly

I've got the lyrics to one of Andrew Peterson's songs in my head this morning; it's actually, I've just discovered, a Mary Chapin Carpenter song, but I learned it from Andrew. :) It's called Why Walk When You Can Fly - and it's off his Clear to Venus album, which I would highly recommend. (shameless plug endethed.)

In this world there's a whole lot of trouble, baby
In this world there's a whole lot of pain
In this world there's a whole lot of trouble
But a whole lot of ground to gain...

Those words sum up a lot for me right now. Have you ever had one of those days where the awfulness of the Fall and of sin and its consequences just overwhelm you? I woke up in that mode, grieving over a couple of situations in my life that simply stink, and there is nothing to be done about them - they could have been avoided if we weren't all so stupid (those of us involved in them) but they couldn't have been either, because we were broken as kids by the stupidity resulting from the brokenness of other people - and so the cycle goes, all the way back through history, and here we are, broken-hearted, completely crushed, and grieving, and wondering if there's a way out... and yet knowing and trusting that there is. (That's the ground to gain, in time, by grace, mercy, love, compassion, hope...and all those good things...)

And then I look at pictures of the earthquake in China and the grief-stricken faces of the people who are hurt, broken, lost, who have lost... and I think, sheesh, Hap, what are you griping about? You have a roof over your head, food on the table, and friends and family that love you dearly. You have a job, and two ridiculously nice guitars, and more books than you have even been able to read. Sure, there's loss, and it stinks, but it's nothing like this... those poor people... and so many of them without that hope, who don't know that there's ground to gain... who don't have a home, don't have a job now because their office building collapsed, who lost people they loved, who don't know the King of Glory or the hope of heaven ... I am richly blessed, so what am I crying about?

And yet the God of all grace sees every tear, knows where it comes from, and is no less concerned for my heartache than He is for that of China...

I knew someone once who had a weird thing for Bob Dylan (depressing music, but occasionally lyrically brilliant), and the words to this song have stuck with me: Series of Dreams - this bit is my favorite:

Thinking of a series of dreams
Where the time and the tempo fly
And there's no exit in any direction
'Cept the one that you can't see with your eyes

Thank You, God that it exists... May time and tempo fly today, for all who need it to - and may we find the Way out of this broken, hopeless world (in all the ways that manifests itself), so we may fly to You. Amen.

lol... glimpse into Happy's head: I finished typing that, and all I could think was, "Fly, you fools! Fly!" - Gandalf, from one of the Lord of the Rings movies....

Obadiah and Elijah

reflections on 1 Kings 18:1-16

When we last left our hero...

Elijah had just raised a kid from the dead. Standard everyday hero fare. One really major moment in a three-year time slot accompanied by daily miracles. Chances are good that by this time, Elijah was totally soaked in an awareness that God will provide what is needed - he'd seen it, hadn't he? From the time the rain stopped, daily for three years Elijah was provided everything he needed to survive. And given a little extra dispensation for things like the widow's son needing to be well so the widow would understand God's ability and desire to provide as well. Elijah has been in a good place.

But then, "after a long time, in the third year, the word of the LORD came to Elijah: "Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land." So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab." (1 Kings 18:1-2)

I wonder what Elijah thought about that? He was human, so I'm betting he was maybe at least the littlest bit scared. Maybe. Or maybe he recognized that fear as a lack of trust, and told it to shut up. Whatever his emotional state - Elijah had heard from the Lord, so he went and did as he'd been told to do - he went looking for Ahab (who, incidentally, has been looking for Elijah anyway!).

So Elijah goes home, and he runs into Obadiah.

Obadiah, the Word tells us, is in charge of the palace. Working for people like Ahab and Jezebel, this is probably a man of no small courage. Verse 3 tells us that Obadiah was "a devout believer in the Lord", and that he had, while Jezebel was murdering all of the Lord's prophets, saved the lives of 100 prophets by hiding them in caves and providing them food and water. This guy has some serious guts, he's trustworthy, and his heart is totally in right place before the Lord to boot.

Today Obadiah is out and about because the drought is so severe at this point that there isn't enough grass left to feed the animals. The king himself is out looking for grass (does this strike anyone else as odd? i mean, doesn't he have peasants who could do that?), and he and Obadiah have split up. And this is what happens:

"As Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him. Obadiah bowed down to the ground, and said, "Is it really you, my lord Elijah?"

"Yes," he replied. "Go tell your master, 'Elijah is here.'" (1 Kings 18:7-8)

Obadiah bowed down... a sign of deep respect. This is the prophet of God he's just run into. The prophet through whom God spoke to Ahab, and whom Ahab blames for the drought. The prophet who God said would pray and send the rain. This is a man who ought to be respected, and Obadiah, as a follower of the Lord, respects him. And is possibly fairly glad to see him, because it has been three years... maybe today will be the day it rains.

"Go tell Ahab I'm back."

And Obadiah freaks out.

"What have I done wrong...that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to be put to death? As surely as the LORD your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you. And whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there, he made them swear they could not find you. But now you tell me to go to my master and say, 'Elijah is here.' I don't know where the Spirit of the LORD may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn't find you, he will kill me. Yet I your servant have worshiped the LORD since my youth. Haven't you heard, my lord, what I did while Jezebel was killing the prophets of the LORD ? I hid a hundred of the LORD's prophets in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. And now you tell me to go to my master and say, 'Elijah is here.' He will kill me!"

So much for

Translation: ARE YOU FREAKING NUTS?!?!

Watch the progression:

1.) Obadiah immediately assumes that this is some sort of punishment... "what have I done wrong...?"

2.) He doesn't identify himself personally with the Lord (did he ever?): "as surely as the Lord your God lives..." Not "my God," not "our God"... "your God." Hm.

3.) He fills Elijah in on the brief history of the past three years - summary: he hates your guts and has threatened the lives of others in attempt to get to you. (an analysis of the situation as it stands)

4.) This is interesting: "I don't know where the Spirit of the Lord may carry you when I leave you." What does this say? Obadiah is experiencing a severe lack of trust in both God and His prophet... (he has projected a potential story line for "what comes next" - without asking if it will all go down this way or not...)

5.) Defensiveness: "I have worshiped the Lord since my youth." "I hid all those prophets." unspoken: "and this is how you reward me?!" (Obadiah has accepted his own potential storyline as fact and is experiencing the emotions that will come with those events, should they, in fact, occur...)

6.) Fear: "He will kill me!"

and (this is the best part):

7.) It is all met.

Elijah cuts straight through Obadiah's freak-out session to the heart of what's really bothering him.... this whole lack of trust thing... with one short sentence: "As the LORD Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today." (v. 15)

Dude, chill. I'm here, I'm not going anywhere. This is not about you, by the way. It's not punishment. The simple facts are these: you have the king's ear, I'm back now and I need him to know it, and you can go tell him. It's just a job; get it done. That story-line you just composed in your head - it isn't real. That's not going to happen. Trust me. Trust God. There's a point to this. It's bigger than what you can see right now. You don't need to know all that yet. I don't even know all that yet. Just go do what you have been asked to do. You've been faithful; God's seen that. And He thinks you are the man for this particular task. So would you just go do it, already.... (now who's projecting.... sorry... lol) :)

"So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah." (v. 16.)

This will be interesting... :)

six more things

Jemila over at Quirky Grace has tagged me in a yet another completely narcissistic meme. I've already (I think) been tagged in this one, but it's fun, and the "weird" component has been taken out and the rules altered a bit (thank you, Jemila!), so here goes...

6 random things about me:

1) I don't do superficial. Be my friend or be a good acquaintance, but please pick one, and stick to it.

2) I wrote (and sent!) an email today that will literally be life-changing, and on both sides of that experience, the freedom I felt was incredible.

3) My favorite movie of all time is Ever After.

4) I really like spicy brown mustard.

5) I agree with Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail that "daisies are the happiest flower."

and 6) I've fallen asleep sitting up twice this week. (On Wednesday - well, I guess it was Thursday actually - I fell asleep reading around 12:45am or so and woke up around 3:30am with all the lights still on, and I was still sitting up...)

Jemila said change the rules, so here it is: if you think this sounds like fun, write about six random things, tag or don't tag as you wish, and if you do it, link back here and let me know you did it so I can read yours. :)

six word memoir

Barry at Honest Faith has tagged me in the Six Word Memoir meme. (Thanks, Barry!) Here are the instructions:

1. Write the title to your own memoir using 6 words.
2. Post it on your blog.
3. Link to the person that tagged you.
4. Tag five more blogs.

Amazingly, it only took me about 30 seconds. (Guess that minute in the woods was helpful...) :)

Here's mine:

"Favored By Circumstance (?!)": Discovering
True Happy-ness

and I tag:

Josh at Old Men In Small Towns
Brad at i (heart) brad 2.0
Jemila at Quirky Grace
Rachel at Just Something I Was Thinking About
and Matthew at Chickens Don't Have Armpits

(shameless plug... check out Matthew's other site: The Super Trio to hear his new book - it's wonderful... and I'd especially recommend it to anyone who knows (or has, or remembers what it was like to have been) an elementary school-aged boy. (and Torch boys, you'll love it.)) :)

better late than never...

My first syncroblog (and if I finish it before midnight and it actually makes it in, I'll be impressed, but better late than never, right?)! Glenn over at re-dreaming the dream suggested this one, and I like it - and I have time - so here we are. :)

The questions are:
1) How are you doing?
2) What are you doing?
3) What are you learning?
4) What are you dreaming about?

How am I doing?

Alright, I guess. It's been a relatively quiet couple of days, and that's been nice. I'm tired (this is nothing new) but I'm also staying up late blogging instead of going to sleep on time... having the ability to stay up and embrace my nightowl tendencies because I can rather than because there's tons of work looming over my head that must be done is really nice, and I'm enjoying it. I also got to go to Torch and just chill tonight - no responsibilities, just good hang out time with friends, and the chance to come and worship barefoot in the back of the room - a rare gift for worship leader, and one I treasure greatly when I get it. :)

What am I doing?

Staying up late, blogging... :) Eating tortilla chips. Unwinding at the end of a good day. Processing through some things - some of which are really good and some of which, well, I'd like to not be processing through them, but there it is, and I'll learn from it, so... :P

Life in general: working a lot, but i love my job in the summer, so it's mostly cool. thinking about maybe getting around to cleaning out that last box of junkmail. organizing things for Torch. leading worship a lot... got to be in the band for a women's retreat this weekend, and it was really, really fun. NOT studying. YAY!!! Catching up on my reading - for fun.

What am I learning?

How to hear His voice clearly. How to be still and wait. How to trust. The beauty to be found in brokenness and humility. How to truly love someone. How to truly love God. Confidence. The truth of God's amazing love for me. How many lies I've believed for too long - and God's truth over and against them. To value His truth above all else. A love for His Word. This could go on forever... (the list, and the things on it...)

A lot of lessons I've learned before. But kind of like algebra, there always seems to be a new level, or a new kind of something that replaces it- new things to learn based on the things from the first lesson. I'm getting it. Slowly but surely. Better late than never, right?

What am I dreaming about?

Honestly? Someday. The Someday when everything is better. The Someday when the lion and the lamb truly do lay down and sleep in the same meadow. The Someday when all is restored to what it was meant to be.... There are microcosmic levels on which I am dreaming about that... but I want the Big Someday, too - the day when Jesus has come back and reigns on the earth, and everything has gotten all sorted out.

On a much more personal level- I am dreaming about another Someday - the Someday when God has finally sorted me out - and I know who I am and how I'm wired, and I'm doing exactly whatever it is I'm supposed to be doing....

lol... look at that. 10 minutes to spare. I could have said so much more...

bad theology as discussed in a parking lot...

I forget how it came up, but as I observed the other day to a couple of friends as we were standing in the parking lot talking after rehearsal (some of the best conversations happen in parking lots late at night; have you noticed this?):

"I know that not everyone liked Jesus, but well... I like Him, and I'm trying to be like Him, and therefore I think everyone should like me too..."

lol... wow. that doesn't even follow logically... but there it is. Why I'm A People Pleaser: Lessons in Bad Theology 101.


sigh - it drives me crazy when people don't like me. or when i feel like my reputation has been tarnished, or i've been misunderstood. So much for the praises of men... I need to get back to that frame of mind.

(10 minutes later...)

ha ha ha ha ... wow. I just went back and reread what I wrote in that post... I linked it because of the general principle of the idea behind it - living for God's praise rather than needing people to think well of you... but it is so currently relevant to the situation I'm in that's driving me batty that... well, ironic doesn't even begin to cover it.... thanks, God... point taken... ow...

lol... you know that scene in Dave and the Giant Pickle where Junior Asparagus is David in the field watching all those sheep, and he says, "They tip over." (behind him a sheep falls over and bleats piteously) "Oh look, there goes one now..."

I'm starting to feel like that about the whole pottery thing - remade daily, redropped and shattered... "oh look, there goes one now..." smash, shatter, pieces everywhere, God coming in with the broom - saying patiently as He sweeps me up, "okay, Hap, let's try it again... back in the clay mixer for the night, and we'll remake you in the morning." End of day. smash, shatter... Repeat. (sigh) This is fun....

"i am SO sayin'... " : a bit of late night philosophy

Back in our college days (which are now further away than I care to admit), my friend Tim would randomly ask people (by way of conversation starter), "What's your philosophy of life?" I have no recollection whatsoever of my answer to that question at the time. His, upon return of the question, was almost inevitably "Run long, [something], and punt..." (note to self: ask him in next email...) And no, I have no idea what he meant by that.

I asked another friend that question once, and his answer was "No regrets." And when I asked him the follow-up question: "what do you want to do when you grow up?", his answer was (years later still) amazing: "I'm already doing it."

That's just cool, and I hope, Dan, that wherever you are, those answers are still true for you. Times have changed, and things did not go quite the way anyone envisioned them - and yet...

It's a philosophy of life worth taking into consideration, isn't it? I want to live with no regrets. I want to be doing now what I want to do someday - or actively working toward it, anyway.

There's a song I've heard quite a bit lately, and it has worked its way into my soul. It's by the wonderfully talented John Mayer, and goes a little something like this:

What would life be like, if we lived it with this sort of philosophy?

John Mayer Lyrics

the beauty of broken glass

Last week at Torch, my friend Erica was teaching - and she shared this really cool word-picture of how God works in our lives sometimes. If there are impurities in the clay that a potter uses to make something, when it's fired, it will explode, and what you're left with are all these hard pieces of useless pottery - except there's this thing, I forget what it's called, and it's full of soft clay, and the potter will toss all the pieces into it, and over time as the hard broken bits of pottery are mixed in with the soft clay, they become soft and remoldable - useful again.

Of late, for various reasons, I've felt like so many pieces of shattered pottery - as if God has taken me off the shelf and purposefully dropped me on the floor, or as if I've been in that firing place, and simply exploded. There's reason to it - things to learn, ways to grow, stuff that just needs to be remade in me, I think - and so I am glad for it, but... well, ouch...

As I was sharing some of that last night with the band I'll be playing with this weekend, one of the guys told me something I don't think I will ever forget; it was just such a cool image. He told me about this friend of his who has a coffee table and the surface of it is made entirely of bits of broken glass. Each piece on its own is beautiful in and of itself, but then you put them all together and it's just incredible.

It is incredible, isn't it? Dozens of pieces of broken, useless, rejected glass - seen through an artist's eyes as something worth saving. Re-created, given a new function, and made beautiful. Sounds a little bit like a great Story, don't you think? :)

I may have discovered my art project for the summer...