#changetheconversation

I just came in from my morning walk.

My devotions led me to this.

We got back from our most recent trip to Haiti about eight hours ago. I, and three very humble, gifted, generous, funny, faithful friends had a full day of travel and retrospection. As is true after pretty much every trip the conversations kept steering to what could we do to “fix Haiti.” We didn’t use those words but that is the bottom line.

There are many responses rolling in your mind right now.

“Heal thyself” might well be one of them.

I digress.

By “fix” we are pretty much skipping over some of the greater truth to chase an economic solution.

Economic change is greatly needed there.

That’s exactly the thing we cannot fix.

To dwell on that is to come to a level of frustration that leads to spiritual stagnation that leads to defeat.

There is a line in a Book I read fairly regularly that says “the One who began a good work in you will see it to completion…”

We aren’t called to finish the job. We don’t even have a good grasp of what the beautiful result should look like. We are simply called to be participants in the project.

If we lose sight of this we also lose sight of something very sweet.

The good work is exactly that.

We can’t fix Haiti (or Anderson for that matter) but there are over 600 children going to school through the work that was begun in us. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti (or Washington for that matter) but there is a young woman with new clothes going to college. New clothes and college weren’t even an option, not even a dream. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti (or even change one hair on my head) but there is a very bright young man who is back in classical (secondary) school who’d dropped out because he didn’t have the $250 for the annual tuition. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti but I also can’t get the image out of my head of several people leaving our outdoor woodworking area with chairs, tables, stools, and HUGE smiles. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti but there is a freshly painted building with new pews to sit on where people gather to praise and draw strength and find hope in a place where these things are as essential as air and food. That means something.

I can’t fix Haiti but I can believe in a Friend who is in the process of doing that very thing - and fixing me in the process.

I got to the church building here in Rogersville about 11 last night. I checked my messages and mail. There was a note from a sweet lady who had a serious injury and several surgeries last year. She had no money for food - or for Christmas gifts for her children. You gave generously to her. The note she sent included the words “you have no idea how much that meant to us.”

She’s right.

As our Friend and I were winding up a fairly brief stroll this morning I felt compelled to confess the part of my life that wants to see everything fixed. He smiled at me the way he does and said…

“I prefer to look at the fixers.”

Your move.

Brother Pat

#changetheconversation

Shabat shalom!

I just came in from my morning walk.

My devotions led me to this.

It is Sunday and I guess I am feeling preachy.

That’s your notice to take the off ramp from this walk.


Since you stayed let me ask those of you in my charge to just quit it.

It is as if I haven’t been able to teach anything in all my decades of ministry.

I confess to a lot of shabby work but I made an effort to tell you our faith is more, infinitely more, immeasurably more, so very pleasurably more, than saying seven ridiculous things before breakfast.

So, if you must do it please do it out of my hearing.

It gives me a piercing earache.

You might want to consider doing it out of God’s hearing too.

She is very insulted when it happens.

Are you ready?

There is no such thing as a PRAYER WARRIOR.

That term emerged from the Christian fiction section. It has been appropriated by the best sellers and the effective manipulators.

There is no all-star team of intercessors who get God’s ear quicker, and with better results.

I suspect quite the opposite.

It is the despondent soul who feels lost forever whose lament cuts to the heart.

It is the little child who folds chubby fingers to seek help for their dad and mom, or their puppy, whose calls resonate with sincerity.

It is the impoverished Haitian who doesn’t know I exist, who doesn’t know if she will eat today, and has no resource other than her faith who seeks help most directly.

It is the drunk in their fog and the sinner in their wilderness whose groans are carried by the Spirit to a place of clarity and communion.

It is you, not some A team out there somewhere, who best speaks your heart.

If I read Matthew chapter 6 with any accuracy it is the “prayer warriors” who have gotten their reward - along with their title.

God isn’t taking votes for Most Valuable Pray-er.

How terribly insulting to think his heart is so shallow.

Let me make a simple request. It comes from my heart - and my head.

Please pray for me.

Even those who’d rather not.

All.

Of.

You.

Eh?

As our Friend and I walked a Sunday stroll we commiserated about how the Body got lost in the NFL/NBA/MLB, the Emmys/Grammys/Fraternities and such. He smiled at me the way he does and said…

“I hear you.”

Your move.

Brother Pat

Posted 2 weeks ago