hearts set on pilgrimage
Thursday, October 16, 2008
For lack of a better place to put it. This marvelous article about Was the War Worth It needs to be read in light of all the rhetoric of the election about Iraq. It's from 2005, but still relevant. If you think you have newer information which effects the analysis of the article, please let me know.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008

After reading the WSJ lately, and seeing all the market charts, I read 2 Cor 4:17-18 and thought about what really matters.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006
Let there be "Palm Christian Fellowship"

Ever since I started working at Palm, I've been after starting a prayer meeting there. We started one at PalmSource and had a great time. It's amazing how differently I experience my work life when Christ's body is manifest in that place. Just knowing there are brothers and sisters around me praying for Palm, praying for each other... but that's not what this post is about. It's about how God gets things done.

Every time I thought about starting a prayer meeting, I felt a nudge that it wasn't the right time yet. I've been practicing paying attention to those nudges and how to discern a nudge from God from my own internal nudging. Anyway, I honored this one. Over the last 11 months I've regularly checked in, "Is it time?", "Nope." Oh, well.

Last week I got a different nudge, "It's time." I got excited. I created an Outlook meeting invite "Palm Christian Fellowship Prayer Meeting", reserved a room at lunch and made 2 phone calls. I knew of 2 people who mentioned church activities. Two yes's later I sent the invite out, with the encouragement to forward it to anyone who might be interested. That was Monday (4/10). One person (plus myself) showed up and we had a delightful conversation and prayed for Palm, its employees, leaders, customers, and that God's Kingdom would manifest here. It was great.

The person who came forwarded the invite to someone she thought would be interested, he forwarded it to 2 people he thought would be interested. One of them sent an email to friends in Apple Christian Fellowship asking for prayer for Palm Christian Fellowship. And two of my friends in Apple Christian Fellowship emailed me back asking if I knew anything about it. This happened in a matter of 2 days. I find it hilarious and glorious at the same time. God can take a tiny seed and grow it into whatever He wants.

So now there's a Palm Christian Fellowship. Today we have 6 people, and I think we'll probably get a lot more as the word spreads person-to-person. It's been about a week since I created the Outlook invite. As I look back, creating the meeting in Outlook was an act of faith, a prophetic act if you will. I didn't know what God would do with it. I still don't know what He will do with it. But God has bigger plans I don't know the details of. I just know its going to be good, because He's good.
Friday, May 13, 2005
Personal News/Praise Report!

Thank you for all your help, thoughts, prayers, and support through my job search. Thanks to your help, I will be starting Monday, May 23 at palmOne as an Engineering Program Manager. As an EPM I will be responsible for the successful coordination and project management of anything from a software component to an entire device release.

For those who don’t know, palmOne, inc. is the mobile computing device company which makes the Treo, Tungsten and Zire product lines. These all run the Palm OS software produced by my former employer, PalmSource, inc. (Both these companies used to be combined as Palm, Inc until a couple of years ago.)

I’m very excited about this new opportunity! And I’m going to miss spending so much time around my family. Since we are homeschooling our kids, I was able to be with them every day. It was a great time in our lives. I'm sure God will continue to give us more adventures!
2 Sam 24 He tested David by telling him , "Go and take a census of Israel and Judah"
1 Chr 21 Now Satan entered the scene and seduced David into taking a census of Israel.

I find it interesting, but not troubling, that in the 2 Samuel version God is responsible, and in the 2 Chronicles version Satan is mentioned as the instigator. Ultimately, God is the great instigator, the first cause. He is sovereign. In the 2 Sam passage, it is prefaced by "Once again God's anger blazed out against Israel."

God's anger, Satan's seduction, David's sin, God's punishment, David's repentence. And in all this the first passage says that God "tested" David.

I was watching my son use the typing tutor on the computer. He said, "I hope I pass this test". The program was measuring his performance against a pre-programmed standard. If he was fast and accurate enough, it would teach him new keys, if not, he'd get more practice on the same keys until he could "pass the test". The designers intent was to give Matt the most appropriate tasks next so he could learn to type. There was no moral assessment.

I believe that God, though he was angry with Israel, was still acting out of love for David in testing him. David was an experienced military commander by this time. He wasn't the same man that stepped out before Goliath with a sling and 5 smooth stones declaring that the Lord would win the battle. David needed to learn where he had developed a reliance on his military competence rather than God's faithfulness. His general knew what was wrong: "May your GOD multiply people by the hundreds right before the eyes of my master the king, but why on earth would you do a thing like this?"

This is not an issue of deprecating our skill vs our faith. We're clearly called to use our talents for the Kingdom. However, it was clear in the history of Israel that God had established the military success of the Israelites as a place where He showed His glory, His might, and His favor. David made the mistake of trying to take that function over and use his skill where God was clearly claiming the glory. It was a gift from God that David was corrected. And God redeemed the situation by making the site where His compassion halted the angel of death the site of His temple in Jerusalem.

Even God's anger at our sin, results in His gifts to us. God disciplines us as sons. (Even in the Old Testament!)
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
A Costly Mistake

1 Sam 22:22
David said to Abiathar, "I knew it--that day I saw Doeg the Edomite there, I knew he'd tell Saul. I'm to blame for the death of everyone in your father's family. (The Message)

David is fleeing King Saul who is trying to kill him. He tells the priest Ahimelech that he's on a mission from Saul, and Ahimelech helps David. Saul's chief shepherd, Doeg, happens to be in the neighborhood and sees this. Doeg tells Saul that Ahimelech helped David and Saul has all 85 priests in Ahimelech's family group killed along with their families, even their livestock. Only one survives: Abiathar. When Abiathar meets up with David, David takes responsibility for the catastrophe.

David could have blamed Doeg. He could have blamed Saul--David didn't kill anyone. Saul didn't have to kill them. Maybe Doeg wouldn't have told Saul. Who knows? But David very decisively takes the blame, and the obligation to protect Abiathar.

David was on the run, he was alone and friendless. What could he do anyway? Kill Saul's official? Taken all the priests and their families with him to exile? He didn't even have bread to feed himself. But David didn't rationalize his responsibility away.

It's uncomfortable to take blame. It triggers all my guilt issues. But if I won't take blame then I won't take responsibility. I lose the opportunity to learn, and to be mindful of my responsibility in the moment. The next time David is in the moment and he sees a "Doeg", he'll be motivated to take action, rather than blame-shift or rationalize until its too late.

David's mistake was that he didn't take action when he could have. Blame-shifting and rationalization can paralyze me from taking action in the moment. So I need to be able to claim the blame to give myself the respond-ability.

I can't take blame well; I get bound up in condemnation. It paralyzes me in the moment. But I have found that "There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!" If I'm robed in Jesus's righteousness I can resist condemning myself and I can take the blame and responsibility.

I'm going to practice taking the blame, standing in the righteousness of Jesus, and take action. Jesus doesn't call me to feel as much as he calls me to act.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Taking Effective Action

1 Samuel 13:6-14 (let me know if you'd rather have the passage text here)

All the leadership books would have gotten this one wrong.

Saul is the leader of Israel's army, getting ready for battle. Samuel promised to come and make a sacrifice to God before the battle, but he is late. Saul's men are losing morale and deserting. So Saul makes the sacrifice himself. Saul decides to take charge, get the job done, help his men.

But he got it wrong.

It's easy for me to be an armchair 'King of Israel' and say, "Yeah, he should not have trusted in the sacrifce. He should have trusted God!" But if Saul had a weakness for religion, I have a weakness for taking action.

I've heard religion defined as "man's attempt to reach God". When I say that Saul had a weakness for religion, I mean that he put his trust more in what he did for God then what God promised to do for him. He feared facing his enemies without the sacrifice, when he should have been afraid of facing them without God. He confused his religion with his God.

Over the past couple of years, Helen and I have been in a big question about future directions. Where to live, what to do, what job, what ministry, what people, what places? We've been looking for clear leading from God, but I'm still waiting. I want to go out and make it happen, to take decisive action. The waiting is getting to my nerves. It's becoming harder to peacefully trust.

Perhaps I'm like Saul. I have to let go of my expectation of what that leading from God will be like. If Saul had concentrated on trusting God, instead of trusting his religious observances, maybe he wouldn't have taken premature action, "by now God would have set a firm and lasting foundation under your kingly rule over Israel", says Samuel.

Saul was not remembering how God used Gideon's 300 men to save Israel from Midian. Saul had at least twice that many when he panicked and made the sacrifice himself. Saul saw disaster in the men slipping away. Perhaps God saw an opportunity. By having Samuel be late, perhaps God was looking to thin the ranks so that the victory would bring greater glory to Saul's God.

God is not interested in showing the effectiveness of Saul's sacrifice. He is very interested in showing the faithfulness of Saul's God.
Monday, April 11, 2005

I'm overhearing my wife homeschooling my children in the next room. They are having a problem with their mood today. I guess some of it is physical. We had a busy Sunday with a couple of late nights this weekend. But the way they are working it out is foolishness. They are gripped by stories about how the future will be bad. They have too much schoolwork (same amount as ever), they don't have enough time (that hasn't changed either), the schoolwork is too hard (once they are clear of their bad mood they get it done quickly). Gentle answers aren't turning aside their wrath. Foolishness has gripped them.

My devotion reading today has been in 1 Sam 11-12 and 1 Cor 11. In Samuel, Israel is foolishly demanding to be led by a king instead of by God because they think that will save them from a fierce enemy that is threatening them. Paul is lecturing the church in Corinth about the foolish way they have embraced pseudo-apostles, preachers who are trying to enslave them to the Law again.

Both Samuel's and Paul's harangue of foolish believers is messy, produces a bad mood, and sounds a bit like foolishness itself. Samuel starts by asking if he has cheated the Israelites, he has to clear the air and stop the grumbling. No one comes forth with an accusation, but the fact that Samuel had to do it to get everyone to stop grumbling is foolishness. Same with Paul and the Corinthians. For Paul to have to speak like a fool to them (as he admits himself in the text) is a further indictment. Both were good leaders who knew that the only way out was through.

"Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly lest, he be wise in his own eyes." Prov 26:4,5

This means to me that if you have no commitment to the fool, stay clear and don't even answer him. But if you are committed to helping him, you must show him his folly by answering him in it.

Samuel's "foolishness" brought clarity, Paul's "foolishness" brought clarity. My own foolishness doesn't look like foolishness. I'm gripped by it, I've justified it, rationalized it. Then I hear someone like a Samuel, or Paul speaking my foolishness--or the reasonable consequences of it--and the foolishness becomes apparent to me. They reflect the foolishness back to me and I can see it for foolishness and I am no longer wise in my own eyes.

Foolishness sucks, and produces a bad mood for me (and those around me). But once I'm in it, as either cause or cure, the only way out is through. I need to repent for my foolishness, and the sin at the bottom of it: unbelief, unforgiveness, pride, envy, greed.

Forgiveness and grace produce wonderful moods of peace, love and joy. The Kingdom of God is near you!

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