Archive for the ‘Community Front Porch’ Category
As we have been discussing the homebound, community, and experiencing Jesus, Sharon White sent this poem to me. I appreciate very much her tracking down the author and getting permission for us to share it with you. I believe it’s worth a good look (or listen) since it fits our ongoing discussion so well!
Please Hear What I Am Not Saying
Charles C. FinnDon’t be fooled by me.
Don’t be fooled by the face I wear
for I wear a mask, a thousand masks,
masks that I’m afraid to take off,
and none of them is me.
Pretending is an art that’s second nature with me,
but don’t be fooled,
for God’s sake don’t be fooled.
I give you the impression that I’m secure,
that all is sunny and unruffled with me, within as well as without,
that confidence is my name and coolness my game,
that the water’s calm and I’m in command
and that I need no one,
but don’t believe me.
My surface may seem smooth but my surface is my mask,
ever-varying and ever-concealing.
Beneath lies no complacence.
Beneath lies confusion, and fear, and aloneness.
But I hide this. I don’t want anybody to know it.
I panic at the thought of my weakness exposed.
That’s why I frantically create a mask to hide behind,
a nonchalant sophisticated facade,
to help me pretend,
to shield me from the glance that knows.
But such a glance is precisely my salvation, my only hope,
and I know it.
That is, if it’s followed by acceptance,
if it’s followed by love.
It’s the only thing that can liberate me from myself,
from my own self-built prison walls,
from the barriers I so painstakingly erect.
It’s the only thing that will assure me
of what I can’t assure myself,
that I’m really worth something.
But I don’t tell you this. I don’t dare to, I’m afraid to.
I’m afraid your glance will not be followed by acceptance,
will not be followed by love.
I’m afraid you’ll think less of me,
that you’ll laugh, and your laugh would kill me.
I’m afraid that deep-down I’m nothing
and that you will see this and reject me.
So I play my game, my desperate pretending game,
with a facade of assurance without
and a trembling child within.
So begins the glittering but empty parade of masks,
and my life becomes a front.
I tell you everything that’s really nothing,
and nothing of what’s everything,
of what’s crying within me.
So when I’m going through my routine
do not be fooled by what I’m saying.
Please listen carefully and try to hear what I’m not saying,
what I’d like to be able to say,
what for survival I need to say,
but what I can’t say.
I don’t like hiding.
I don’t like playing superficial phony games.
I want to stop playing them.
I want to be genuine and spontaneous and me
but you’ve got to help me.
You’ve got to hold out your hand
even when that’s the last thing I seem to want.
Only you can wipe away from my eyes
the blank stare of the breathing dead.
Only you can call me into aliveness.
Each time you’re kind, and gentle, and encouraging,
each time you try to understand because you really care,
my heart begins to grow wings–
very small wings,
very feeble wings,
With your power to touch me into feeling
you can breathe life into me.
I want you to know that.
I want you to know how important you are to me,
how you can be a creator–an honest-to-God creator–
of the person that is me
if you choose to.
You alone can break down the wall behind which I tremble,
you alone can remove my mask,
you alone can release me from my shadow-world of panic,
from my lonely prison,
if you choose to.
Please choose to.
Do not pass me by.
It will not be easy for you.
A long conviction of worthlessness builds strong walls.
The nearer you approach to me
the blinder I may strike back.
It’s irrational, but despite what the books say about man
often I am irrational.
I fight against the very thing I cry out for.
But I am told that love is stronger than strong walls
and in this lies my hope.
Please try to beat down those walls
with firm hands but with gentle hands
for a child is very sensitive.
Who am I, you may wonder?
I am someone you know very well.
For I am every man you meet
and I am every woman you meet.
Charles C. Finn
I’m sitting here at my beloved MacBook keyboard still drippin’ wet from working out this morning. Since returning from our trip as a family, I’ve rejoined the world of the committed to exercise, dropping weight, and eating properly — in other words, that “Big Guy” would just like to be that “Medium-sized Guy” once again!
As with any discipline, the first week back in the trenches of hand to hand combat with your own lack of discipline in an area of your life is tough. But alas, it is right … past due … and needed. So, I pedal forth and push onward seeking to leave bits of my former self in my vapor trail.
Meanwhile, we launch into some exciting stuff with Colossians and different types of targeted worship gatherings in August, so there is much work and prayer and study in prep. This one I’m not drippin’ with sweat, but drippin’ with great anticipation. Whether you want to call stuff missional (ah yes, all the rage the last few years in churchland lingo) or targeted or strategic, my hope is that it is a return to the integrity of real community and devotion (Acts 2:42-47 NLT).
Click the link above and notice that these early followers of Jesus were devoted to four things (vs. 42):
the apostles’ teaching
sharing in the Lord’s Supper
What I find most interesting is that most folks miss Luke’s definition of each of these four in the verses that follow (click the words and see Luke’s description:
prayer Acts 2:47 (NLT)
Even more impressive, they were devoted to these things — not just individually, but as a community. So while I’m committed to not lag behind behind in my renewed commitment to physical discipline, I’m even more committed to being devoted to seeing this kind of community truly formed in God’s people in my neck of the woods. What about you?
(And tomorrow or the next day, we’ll poke around what each of these means!)
Today is WATS day!
For our church, it is a special day to gather for a shared Communion service and then go out and serve the community in very intensive, manual labor, ways. WATS stands for “We Are the Sermon.” We begin the day with a shared time of worship with communion — the air is electric and people are excited, dressed in their get dirty work clothes and many pulling trailers full of yard tools. The singing is joyous and upbeat. When we finish, we break into work groups, share a quite bite of lunch, and spend the afternoon working our backsides off to bless others. It’s all part of our sense of mission:
We are God’s community front porch: inviting, including, and involving others in the life of Jesus.
Last year, well over a thousand people served their neighbors building wheel chair ramps, painting homes, cleaning up yard messes, restoring houses to code, and just lending a helping hand. We collected over 80 tons of debris and garbage. It’s one of the coolest and most exciting church days of our year.
Here are a few links to help you know more about it:
What are some things your church family does to get outside the church building and share the love of Jesus with those in your community?
Last minute update: “Will the weather derail our day?” We’ll have to wait and see!
Nobody get excited, my hairline has receded way to far to be talking about haircuts and I’m not nearly tired or delirious enough to tread into the discussion on long hair or veil or covering in 1 Corinthians 11.
No, I’m talking about wind shear or water shear in my article in Heartlight this week. These illustrate the difficult place that many of us find ourselves if we are trying to love God with all of heart, sould, mind and strength and yet are trying to love our neighbors who are not Christians.
How do you know what to do in the shear where these values appear to collide? Does “The Jesus Vibe” give us any insight into how do this?
Take a look at the article and let me know what you think about these questions as we all try to live in “The Shear” like Jesus did:Here are some questions for all of us to consider:
Why is it so hard for those of us so steeped in the Christian faith to live in “The Shear”?
Why do those who Jesus reached seem so turned off by Jesus’ followers today?
What do you need to do to live more fully in “The Shear” rather than in the shadow and security of church folks?
What are some parables of Jesus or actions of Jesus that teach us about how to live in “The Shear”?
In my Heartlight article entitled, “Less than Advertised”, I talk about how we often over-hype what the church can do for folks. This is not usually an intentional thing, just a problem. The big issue is not how do we change our churches, but rather how do we change ourselves?
How do we become more welcoming people?
How do we include outsiders and make them feel and experience life as insiders?
How do we welcome others as Jesus has welcomed us into his family?
What are some things we can each do personally to help others feel more at home in the family of God?
These aren’t rhetorical questions, but questions I hope you will supply with real answers below! Please share your ideas in the comments below!
Remember your leaders who first taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and trust the Lord as they do. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:7-8 NLT)
Today, as we talked about the Discovering element of our Vision, I encouraged each of us to let folks who helped shape our faith and introduce us to Jesus know how precious they are to us.
For me, my parents, Al and Margaret Ware, were crucial in both introducing me to Jesus and also to showing me real faith in action. When my mom remarried several years after my dad’s death, my mom remarried a godly man who has been a great grandfather to our children. His name is Grady Jolly. Grady’s oldest son, Randy who is now my oldest step brother, had helped my own dad teach my Bible class when I was in eighth grade. God has an interesting and gracious sense of purpose!
When I attended college and was studying to go into ministry, Lynn Anderson and Neil Lightfoot invested time and encouragement in me and my future. Their influence and friendship are still cherished blessings that helped shape me and the ministry path God had me take. I can’t thank them enough. Early in ministry, Paul Faulkner join Lynn in supporting, encouraging, and advising me.
Finally, I need to mention one other person who has had a huge influence on my ministry simply by her faith, example, friendship, and encouragement. I deeply appreciate Betty Sanders and her faith and character. Whether she knows it or not, she has had a profound influence on my life and ministry.
To each of these folks and to the Lord, I say, “I remember! I remember you and your lives and your faith. And I thank you and thank God for you!”