the.peak

the gear is gathered
one by one they are secured
mental lists scroll to infinity
final checks with hands and eyes

I look to that peak
the formidable distance
the cold fire wisps in wind
contrails rolling, tumbling out

one more check
testing straps and clasps
a long sighing breath
as I steal another look at it

trudging on in angry wind
tucking my chin to watch my steps
a mental excuse to avoid a glimpse
of that overwhelming distance to climb

one more step and another reach
a grueling fight for that next ledge
it has to be close that withered peak
I steal a glance but regret the deed

farther and higher I push
fighting the desire
to measure the way
knowing regret is its price

but I look up anyway, and sigh
I look back down and cry
this endeavor is robbing me
of the joy of the trek

closer and closer I know it must be
and finally joy begins to creep
hearing the wispy contrails whistling
I look to see that it is in reach

joy upon joy the peak is near
that place to which I’ve pressed to be
that rest that’s promised at the peak
floods my soul with joyous relief

one final push to grasp the point
the stony throne that has no king
I pull and pull at last to see that peak
but it’s just the first of too many before me

the.road.not.taken

I find myself engulfed in the real-life irony of this famous poem:

The Road not Taken
-Robert Frost-

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

a.knot.in.my.gut

I’m nursing a knot in my gut
sensing something is up
reaching for invisible answers
watching for subtle clues

I’m nursing a knot in my gut
the signs are growing flesh
little things said in certain ways
things unsaid revealing much

I’m nursing a knot in my gut
face to face with the messenger
no more guessing the words are clear
worst fears realized and real

I’m nursing a knot in my gut
Holy Spirit help turn fear to hope
work in hearts and minds to heal
reveal the path we are to embrace

I’m releasing a knot in my gut
it’s still lingering here for now
but soon it will be a memory passed
a testimony to Grace and Love

a.moment.of

hands wrenching
eyes clenching
heart racing
a moment of pain

hands wrenching
eyes clenching
heart racing
a moment of joy

hands wrenching
eyes clenching
heart racing
a moment of fear

hands wrenching
eyes clenching
heart racing
a moment of hope

hands wrenching
eyes clenching
heart racing
a moment of hate

hands wrenching
eyes clenching
heart racing
a moment of love

hands wrenching
eyes clenching
heart racing
a moment of life

context.is.everything

Over at my tech blog, a good discussion is happening about technology in small churches. The crux of the discussion is “context” – everything has a context – the circumstances in which it lives. Sometimes we ignore the context of our actions, and sometimes we’re lucky that crazy happens because of our oversight. But, sometimes, big bad consequences ensue.

Sometimes we see context as “place” and “attitudes” and “situation” – but context is also related to time. At one point in time, everything could be just right and a choice blossoms with blessing. At another time, given the same set of circumstances, that same choice could flop big time.

1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

Pray for discernment as you walk the journey and make the choices you make.

gleaning.mentorship

I have another post being published at Strive For Maturity… here’s an excerpt:

My theology is centered around the notion of relationship. I see it in every aspect of humanity and creation. I believe that we are created chiefly for relationship with the creator – through which the other chief ends (glorifying Him, worshiping Him, enjoying Him) are achieved. We are built for it, we are meant for it, and we are incomplete without it.

This relational theology permeates my thinking on nearly everything. That’s one of the reasons that I wanted to be a part of this ministry to men that David Knapp envisions. I sincerely believe, due to our relational nature, that every man is called to mentor other men. Unfortunately men are not choosing to mentor.

Read More…

new.day

dusk falls upon a weathered day
as a persistent throb hammers weary eyes
resignation sighs where words cannot live

what more can this day bring
what more can this mind endure
what more can this man bear

peace, the treasure of this night’s prayers,
is blurred, as an unfamiliar memory
and sleep is this beggar’s final hope

father hear my silent plea,
as eyes retreat from this furious day,
for a gentler tomorrow – a new day

—-

This poem is part of The Warrior Poet Circle hosted by fellow warrior poet and friend Jason at Endless Impact.

lord.help.me

I was 23 years old. Christ rescued me about 7 years earlier. I was a Christian, and I was a smoker. Some who read this might think, “big deal” – but in my tribe, smoking was a no-no. It was a matter of keeping one’s mind and body pure and holy. But as someone who grew up in tobacco country, and went to church mostly on Christmas and Easter with smoking Christians, I just did not get it. Out of respect though, I did not smoke at the church or in front of church people unless they knew me pretty well, and only at my house. My bride, Angel was the youth leader, so I was very careful around the teens too.

But God starting moving in my heart, causing me to love these teenagers more and more. I began to realize that my life is a testimony to the power of God’s ability to rescue anyone – no matter how bad a person one might be. I realized that a couple of the younger teens were sneaking around and lighting up during youth events. God began to teach me how smoking was a burden and yoke on my life, robbing me of time, attention, and treasure. He began to show me how dependent I was on that next smoke – how it mastered my life. God brought compassion on my heart for these teens, causing me to want better for them.

I hate to admit it, but in my rough life, I had picked up smoking by age 10. Smoking was a habit for me by age 12. By age 23, I was putting away about a pack and a half a day (sometimes more). I had tried to quit for my kids’ sakes many times. I knew God was finally convicting my heart about it, but I knew how deep I was in it, and how impossible it was for me to quit.

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

The whole thing haunted me for weeks, until one day at work, at the start of my smoke break, I said, “Fine, God – I’ll do this, but you know I have no strength for it – you’ll have to do it – you’ll have to wipe the urge from me – you’ll have to cure my addiction – and I’ll let you.”

With those words, I snapped the entire pack of cigarettes in half, threw them away, and never smoked again. That was 16 years and 10 months ago.

Making resolutions this year? Resolve to bank on God’s power to keep them, not your own.

his.name.is.jesus

Mary has thirty-three or so years to reflect on this day. What would be the impact of her child-rearing choices on Jesus? What would the life of the God-man be like day to day? Would he get along with his peers? How would the rest of the family deal with him? Could she raise the Son of God? She would find out soon enough. “Jesus” was scribed onto the record of his circumcision. The child would become a man, and bear the weight of the world – a labor of love, God’s love for us all.

19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. 21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived. (Luke 2:19-21)