Friday, January 29, 2010

The Vision

Here's a poem by Peter Greig.

So this guy comes up to me and says:
“What’s the vision? What’s the big idea?”
I open my mouth and words come out like this:
The vision?
The vision is JESUS – obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus.

The vision is an army of young people.
You see bones? I see an army.
And they are FREE from materialism.

They laugh at 9-5 little prisons.
They could eat caviar on Monday and crusts on Tuesday.
They wouldn’t even notice.
They know the meaning of the Matrix, the way the west was won.

They are mobile like the wind, they belong to the nations.
They need no passport.
People write their addresses in pencil and wonder at their strange existence.
They are free yet they are slaves of the hurting and dirty and dying.

What is the vision?

The vision is holiness that hurts the eyes.
It makes children laugh and adults angry.
It gave up the game of minimum integrity long ago to reach for the stars.
It scorns the good and strains for the best.
It is dangerously pure.

Light flickers from every secret motive, every private conversation.
It loves people away from their suicide leaps, their Satan games.
This is an army that will lay down its life for the cause.
A million times a day its soldiers choose to loose,
that they might one day win
the great ‘Well done’ of faithful sons and daughters.

Such heroes are as radical on Monday morning as Sunday night. They don’t need fame from names. Instead they grin quietly upwards and hear the crowds chanting again and again: “COME ON!”

And this is the sound of the underground
The whisper of history in the making
Foundations shaking
Revolutionaries dreaming once again
Mystery is scheming in whispers
Conspiracy is breathing…
This is the sound of the underground

And the army is discipl(in)ed.
Young people who beat their bodies into submission.
Every soldier would take a bullet for his comrade at arms.
The tattoo on their back boasts “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain”.

Sacrifice fuels the fire of victory in their upward eyes.
Winners. Martyrs.
Who can stop them?
Can hormones hold them back?
Can failure succeed?
Can fear scare them or death kill them?

And the generation prays

like a dying man
with groans beyond talking,
with warrior cries, sulphuric tears and
with great barrow loads of laughter!
Waiting. Watching: 24 – 7 – 365.

Whatever it takes they will give: Breaking the rules. Shaking mediocrity from its cosy little hide. Laying down their rights and their precious little wrongs, laughing at labels, fasting essentials. The advertisers cannot mould them. Hollywood cannot hold them. Peer-pressure is powerless to shake their resolve at late night parties before the cockerel cries.

They are incredibly cool, dangerously attractive


On the outside? They hardly care.
They wear clothes like costumes to communicate and celebrate but never to hide.
Would they surrender their image or their popularity?
They would lay down their very lives – swap seats with the man on death row – guilty as hell. A throne for an electric chair.

With blood and sweat and many tears, with sleepless nights and fruitless days,
they pray as if it all depends on God and live as if it all depends on them.

Their DNA chooses JESUS. (He breathes out, they breathe in.)
Their subconscious sings. They had a blood transfusion with Jesus.
Their words make demons scream in shopping centres.

Don’t you hear them coming?

Herald the weirdo's! Summon the losers and the freaks.
Here come the frightened and forgotten with fire in their eyes.
They walk tall and trees applaud, skyscrapers bow, mountains are dwarfed by these children of another dimension.
Their prayers summon the hounds of heaven and invoke the ancient dream of Eden.

And this vision will be.
It will come to pass;
it will come easily;
it will come soon.

How do I know?

Because this is the longing of creation itself,
the groaning of the Spirit,
the very dream of God.

My tomorrow is his today.
My distant hope is his 3D.
And my feeble, whispered, faithless prayer invokes a thunderous, resounding, bone-shaking great 'Amen!' from countless angels, from heroes of the faith, from Christ himself. And he is the original dreamer, the ultimate winner.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jimmy Needham, I need him! :)

Going back to my roots, here's a musical artist you may or may not have heard. Jimmy Needham.

My precious friend Jordan Lee and I were studying together Wednesday night at AK's Coffee, which, for those of you who don't know, is a Christian owned coffee shop. A lot of the music they play is by Christian artists. So we sit down to study but are immediately distracted by this amazing man singing to us about God's love being a hurricane. Like the dedicated students we are, we instantly begin searching the web to identify our mystery musician. We kept trying to liken him to other artists with whom we're all familiar - a little bit of Shane&Shane, some Shawn McDonald, a splash of Brandon Heath, and even some Amos Lee and Ray LaMontagne. You can see he's already shaping up to be quite the talent.

Finally, we figure it out. Jimmy Needham. The CD that was playing was his third album, Not Without Love. There is one captivating spoken song on there, the title song, that tells of the freedom we find only in God's love. We both bought the CD right away, and since then, I've been listening to the pure truths God speaks through Jimmy.

Really, you should go check him out.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

God's promises

In preparing for d-group this past week, I came across a chapter of the Bible that I know I've read before, but the Lord brought to light a whole new meaning in his words. May I share with you what he's teaching me?

The girls have requested topical lessons. The first week was trust. To be honest, I did the typical Leigh thing and waited until Monday night to really work on the lesson for Tuesday night. I prayed for God to move despite my procrastination. He is so faithful.

I worked from Psalm 91. The Bible I usually use is in the English Standard Version, but I'm going to quote my New King James Version for this.

Bear with me. It's only 16 verses.

1. He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty
2. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."
3. Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.
4. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6. Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.
8. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked.
9. Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10. No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11. For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.
12. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14. "Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.
16. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation."

I don't know about you, but there are a few verses that jump out to me. First of all, in verse one it talks about dwelling in the Lord. To me, when I think about dwelling in something, naturally my mind goes to a sort of shelter (like in v. 2)... but if you think about the word dwell in a different sense, another meaning is emphasized. Dwell also means to think, speak, or write at length about, or to linger on. Not only should we make the Lord our refuge, but he should captivate our thoughts. He alone is worthy of our idle thoughts and every motivation of the mind.

In verses 5 and 6, David talks about the terror of the night and the pestilence that walks in darkness, the arrow that flies by day and the destruction at noonday. All of which we DON'T fear because we trust God. But what are each of those things? Those cloaked by night are like the uncertainties, that which we can't see, future plans, etc. Those in daylight are other afflictions we might bear, such as enemies, personal temptations, etc. But again - none of these things merit our worry or fear because God will deliver us, and His truth is our shield! Hallelujah!

Can you just look back to verse 11? He gives the angels charge over us, or as the ESV states, he commands his angels concerning us to guard us in all our ways. HOLY COW! Not only do we have the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords protecting us, but the angels have been commanded to guard us, too! We really do have guardian angels!

Finally, verses 14 through 16. Eight beautiful, eternal, enduring promises of God. Rest in these. Rest in these truths.

1. He WILL deliver us.
2. He WILL protect us.
3. He WILL answer us.
4. He WILL be with us in trouble.
5. He WILL rescue us.
6. He WILL honor us.
7. He WILL satisfy us.
8. He WILL show us salvation.

Now, these are from the ESV translation, but God's word is the same. God is so eager to bless us. He wants to reward us and fulfill his promises to us! He is a loving God, and when we realize that we will never be satisfied unless He is most and we are least, the blessings abound! And no matter what version you read, you should note that it NEVER says, he might deliver us, if he feels like it or if his week has been alright or if he draws our names out of a hat. It says that he WILL. These are his promises, to him who has set his love upon the Lord.

May the power of the divinely spoken Word wash over you today, and may you find peace in his promises for you!