Tag Archives: Walk

Miraculous and Monotonous

This is what the Lord says to me:
    “I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place.
like shimmering heat in the sunshine,
    like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”
Isaiah 18:4 (NIV)

Our local gathering of Jesus followers recently went through a book called Walls Fall Down by Dudley Rutherford. The subtitle of the book is “7 Steps from the Battle of Jericho to Overcome Any Challenge.” For those not well versed in their ancient Hebrew history, the battle of Jericho was an unusual event in which the Hebrews marched around the walled city of Jericho, blew their trumpets, gave a shout, and “the walls came a tumblin’ down.”

I had the opportunity to share a couple of the messages from the series. One of the reminders that I gave listeners is that the miraculous events of Jericho happened once. It is an amazing story and there are many worthwhile lessons one can gather from it. Nevertheless, the truth is that it happened just once. Israel didn’t take their Tower of Power horn section on a tour of every city in the land. The other cities of the land would have to be defeated the old-fashioned way.

Along my journey I have witnessed and experienced some amazing things. There have been climactic moments in which God intervened in everyday life in very cool ways. There have been even more moments in which I desperately would have loved for God to intervene, to supernaturally remove the obstacles before me, yet God remained just as the prophet Isaiah described in today’s chapter: quiet, and looking on. I was required to do the heavy lifting, to exercise faith, to learn the hard lessons, to suffer through the hardship.

Some blame God for not making things easier. Some try to package the miraculous into repeatable human formulas and promise that God will topple every wall. Some walk away in anger and resentment at the fact that God toppled walls for some one else, but not for them.

This is part of the journey, and it’s part of the lesson we are required to learn from it as we progress spiritually. Sometimes God acts in amazing ways and climactic events. Often, we are left to the daily slog of faith and the grind of pressing on one step at a time. They are equal parts of the journey and they each have their eternal purposes.

Excuse me while I lace up the hiking boots. It seems I have a long, uninspiring trek ahead of me today. You never know, though. Miraculous things might happen at any moment. Anything can happen.

The Cubs might even win the World Series! 🙂

chapter a day banner 2015

Featured image: six steps via Flickr

Generations of Memories

Walking Back from Captain Ron'sWe’ve enjoyed a rainy, but fun Memorial Day weekend with the VLs. I captured this moment as we walked back to the Playhouse from the beach at Captain Ron’s. It struck me the generations of friends and loved ones who have walked this lane, holding hands, growing up, and creating memories. As I watched Wendy walking hand-in-hand with Miss Camille I had a flashback of Taylor and Madison holding hands and walking with Grandma Jeanne.

A Great Man in Need

Andy Bales was my youth pastor when I was in high school. His impact on my life was immeasurable. More than that, he has quietly “walked the talk” better than any living human being I’ve ever known. I pass this along with hope and a prayer for him.

The Best for Andy Bales

Posted: Friday, March 23, 2012 9:25 am

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES – It’s hard not to feel a range of emotions for Rev. Andy Bales. There’s fear. There’s awe. There’s tremendous respect and tremendous worry on his behalf.

Most of all, there’s hope that he can overcome the hurdles that are in his path.

Los Angeles Downtown News last week reported on the unenviable challenges confronting Bales. The 53-year-old CEO of the Union Rescue Mission is in need of a kidney transplant, though that’s only part of it. His rare blood type, O negative, means there is a limited pool of donors. Making matters worse, he has a serious heart condition, and until he undergoes heart surgery, he won’t be able to get on the list for a kidney transplant.

The choice might seem easy to an outsider: Get the heart surgery, get on the transplant list, save your life.

For Bales, it’s more complicated. He knows that having the surgery would almost certainly lead to kidney failure, which in turn would require him to go on dialysis. That would force him to cut back heavily on his job of overseeing the mission in the heart of Skid Row. It’s something Bales is reluctant to do.

This is a choice almost none of us can understand in the way that Bales does. We can feel for him and guess what we might do in such a situation, but no one can really fathom having to make the decisions he faces.

Bales didn’t set out to make his health a public issue. The media came to him and he only spoke out because he hopes doing so will bring attention to the work he and others do each day at the mission.

That, by the way, is a tremendous amount of work, and it’s a job that has become more challenging in the past few years, as the slow economy has lessened the amount of financial donations to nearly all nonprofits. The mission at 545 S. San Pedro St. seeks to aid the impoverished community in numerous ways. There are drug and alcohol counseling for hundreds of individuals. There are meals served, an average of 3,000 a day, every day of the year. There are the shelter beds provided, more than 900 a night for men, women and families. There are clothing and medical services dispensed. The list goes on — much of it can be glimpsed at urm.org.

Bales’ condition is serious, but it would be wrong to see this as a death sentence. He continues to show up at the mission each day, to work to better the lives of others. It’s easy to find people who sing his praises.

Right now all we can do is wish for the best for Andy Bales. We hope that in the coming months the community will continue to support him and the mission.

© Los Angeles Downtown News 2011

Chapter-a-Day Deuteronomy 11

Couple walk in silhouette on Morro Strand Stat...
Image by mikebaird via Flickr

Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night. Inscribe them on the doorposts and gates of your cities so that you’ll live a long time, and your children with you, on the soil that God promised to give your ancestors for as long as there is a sky over the Earth. Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (MSG)

Throughout my journey I’ve lived in many places both large and small. I’ve been involved in churches both large and small representing many different traditions. I’ve experienced many conflicts and church schisms from theological debates to leadership issues to silly arguments unworthy of comment.

The other day a friend and I were discussing a church conflict and I realized that this conflict, which had many people up in arms, was not something I cared that much about. Sure, I had my own thoughts, perceptions, and opinions, which I shared  honestly, but it did not really affect my Life-journey or my own interpersonal relationship with God. It was not that huge of a deal for me.

As I read today’s chapter and the command to weave God’s Message into every part of your every day life, it brought to mind my conversation about the conflict at church. It reminded me of why I really have little concern about it. If I were to list and prioritize all of the things that sincerely matter to me in my spiritual journey and my relationship with God the weekly church service would be very low on the priority list. More critical to me is the time each morning I spend alone with God’s Message and writing these posts, the moments of praying the hours each day, the impromptu spiritual conversations I have with Wendy, the daily and weekly phone calls, coffee time, and happy hour I have with dear friends who are walking the journey with me, and the Christ-centered dinner conversations with friends and family. Mess with anything on that list and I will be gravely concerned. Conflicts at church, however, affect me very little.

This Life-journey with God is a 24/7/365 adventure. It doesn’t happen in an hour on Sunday morning and a weekly church service was never intended to be the destination. If I can contain my faith in a small compartment of my life then I can be sure that what I have is a cheap-imitation of the Life-journey God designed and calls us to walk. God’s Message tells us to number our days that we may have a heart of wisdom. God does not ask us to tally Sundays or church services. The emphasis is what happens each and ever day, not what happens once a week.

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