Sunday, July 31, 2011


An old Japanese man with long, white hair bends down and picks up three stones. He places them in orderly fashion at his feet. He stands and regards the stones.

The LORD grants me a vision. The stones come alive as a blessed community. They begin to dance in perfect unity, leading one another with divine love and grace.

The old man continues to regard the stones. I wonder, does he see the dance too?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Powerful thoughts on the life of Christ, and how we are to imitate it – The City Without A Church by Henry Drummond. Excerpts follow:

“If you ask what particular scheme you shall take up, I cannot answer. Christianity has not set schemes. It makes no choice between conflicting philanthropies; decides nothing between competing churches; favours no particular public policy; organizes no one line of private charity. Christianity is not at call carried on by committees. As Christ’s friends, His followers are supposed to know what He wants done, and try to do it – this is the whole working basis of Christianity. Next to its love for the chief of sinners, the most touching thing about the “religion” of Christ is its amazing trust in the least of saints.”

“His pulpit was the hillside, His congregation a woman at the well. His work was everywhere; His workshop was the world. One’s associations of Christ are all of the wayside. We never think of Him in connection with a church.”

“ . . . Christ did not pass among them as a very religious man. It is certain that the religious people of His time not only refused to accept this type of religion as any kind of religion at all, but repudiated and denounced Him as its bitter enemy.”

“It is a mistake to suppose that the working people of this country are opposed to Christianity; the working men would still follow Christ is He came among them.”

“In many lands the churches have literally stolen Christ from the people; they have taken Christianity from the city and imprisoned it behind altar rails.”

“As a channel of nourishment, as a stimulus to holy deeds, as link withal holy lives, let everyone use the church, and to the utmost of their opportunity. But beware of mistaking its services for Christianity. What church services really express is the want of Christianity.”

“Earth is the rehearsal for heaven. The eternal beyond is the eternal here. The street-life, the home-life, the business-life, the city-life in all the varied range of its activity, are an apprenticeship for the city of God.”

“ . . . even when the highest heaven lies all around us, when we might touch it, and dwell in it every day we live, we almost fail to see that it is there.”

Having been a “chief” of sinners, I am still a least of saints, but here I am LORD, speak, your servant is listening.
only by Grace,

Friday, July 15, 2011

Some thoughts on personality profile “instruments”:

Whether Myers-Briggs or some other tool, I always seem to “end up in the middle” for some reason? Not that that is a bad thing, it just always seems to leave me wondering “where I belong”? For instance, on the aspect of introversion or extroversion, I always end up scoring equally on both! I guess I’m an introvert from the standpoint of receiving “energy”, (loving solitude for that), but I love being with people and interacting with them, (it just wears me out emotionally rather than energizing me, so I must always return to solitude to recharge.)

For the most part, I am usually, (I say usually because I often take these assessments in different “seasons” to see where I am), a “T-J” on the Myers-Briggs scoring, although not strongly. But, I am always in the middle of “E-I” and “S-N”. What I’ve learned from all these assessments, (aptitude, personality, etc.), is that we don’t “have” to be any particular “type”. The usefulness in all these assessments is to reveal our strengths and weaknesses, and use that information to better understand God’s plans and will for our lives.

So, by all means, take and use Myers-Briggs, Strengthsfinder, LifeKeys, and other good assessments for helping determine your “gifts”, aptitudes, personality, etc. But, remember that the key to truly understanding and benefitting from them is to seek God’s guidance and wisdom regarding them. Prayer (the “listening” type) and quiet reflection are the best way to “hear” what God has to say about those things, then seeking affirmation, encouragement and accountability within community. Once you have all that . . . get out there and use it. There’s work to be done, God is making all things new (a new heaven and earth), and He desires us to be a part of that beautiful work.

Oh, and one more thing for humor’s sake (and some truth as well): My good Brother Asa James always loves to quote Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” :-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A kupuna reflection . . .

A Kupuna-Kahuna Quiet Time Reflection:
In the year of our Lord, 2011. I am an old man in this season, having seen better days physically. My time as a youth, and with youth seem to be over? I walk more slowly now, speaking more quietly to individual hearts on behalf of the Son. And truthfully, it is enough in this season. For, I have come to see that “the philanthropy of quiet ways, and the slow work of leavening others one by one with the Spirit of Christ,” [Henry Drummond] ultimately has more impact than all the material blessedness, public schemes & charities, and glitzy marketing & programs the “greater church” has to offer. For discipleship as Christ created and modeled it has always been a “one heart to one heart” experience, even in the midst of groups. Yes, I have come to realize that, for me personally, my greatest “calling” in life has been that of husband, father, grandfather and friend. This I can still do as an old man through the Grace and Strength of the One who makes me perfect in weakness.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Kingdom Life As Christ Would Have Us Live It:

In every city throughout the world today, there is a city descending out of heaven from God. Each one of us is daily building up this city – or helping to keep it back.

In all seriousness I make this definite practical proposal: believe in your city. What else? In Jesus Christ. What about Him? That He wants to make your city better; that that is what He would be doing if He lived there. What else? Believe in yourself – that you, even you, can do some of the work which He would like done, and that unless you do it, it will remain undone. How are you to begin? As Christ did. First He looked at the city; then He wept over it; then He died for it.

Where are you to begin? Begin where you are. Make that one corner, room, house, office, as like heaven as you can. Begin? Begin with the paper on the walls, make that beautiful; with the air, keep it fresh; with the very drains, make them sweet. Abolish whatsoever makes a lie – in conversation, in social intercourse, in correspondence, in domestic life. This done, you have arranged for a heaven, but you do not yet have it. Heaven lies within here; in kindness, in humility, in unselfishness, in faith, in love, in service. To get these in, get Christ in. Teach all in the house about Christ – what He did, and what He said, and how He lived. Teach it not as a doctrine, but as a discovery, as your own discovery. Live your own discovery.
Then pass out into the city, your community. Do all to it that you have done at home.

[based on Finan readings from Celtic Daily Prayer]

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Kingdom Life – The Bicycle Wheel Metaphor

No doubt several people have pictured life with God as a bicycle wheel before, but in a recent quiet time the Spirit revealed a very detailed vision of such a metaphor, so I thought I would share it.

Also, no doubt some of this vision comes from my own personal experiences at a cyclist and triathlete, and also because the Tour de France bicycle race is currently happening. But, the God connection lies in this season of my life that is filled with study, meditation and missional discipleship.

So, picture a bicycle wheel, including tire and rim. At the center of the wheel is the hub, everything is connected to the hub assembly. Hubs are generally made up of three interrelated parts; axle, bearings and the hub housing, (get the trinitarian nature of the hub?) Nothing works without the being connected to the hub – God.
Next, emanating outward from the hub are the spokes. Spokes can be made of a variety of materials and come in various arrangements, sound like a little like all of us?? The spokes are connected to the hub, then run out to the rim assembly; rim (again various materials), and tire. The vision of the spokes given to me is one of various sized groups, smaller and more intimate near the hub, larger and less intimate (although always in relationship) as the spoke extends out to the rim and tire.

Now along these “spokes” (Kingdom speaking and in 3DM [] terms) lie first “huddles”; small groups of leaders discipling one another. Beyond the huddles on the spokes are “missional communities”, larger groups where these leaders facilitate Kingdom Life with others, and where there is a shared “mission”, a caring connection with the world. These missional communities connect wherever and whenever they can with a variety of communities (note: these are not usually Christian communities, in fact, almost never are.) This is where “the rubber meets the road” so to speak! This is where disciples are “in the world, but not of it”, being Jesus, modeling Jesus, with Grace and sensitivity.
You might have already seen the “circle” connection of the tire and rim, but if not, notice how all the communities are connected around the outer circle. That represents the Body of Christ in the world, coming from a lot of different places, but connected to One Lord and One God . . . THE HUB!

I love this metaphor/picture, and it reminds me of the depth and interconnectedness of the Kingdom Life, following Jesus as He commanded, and as He leads through the Holy Spirit. As I often remind myself and others, this is “here and now” life, the “abundant life” Christ promised. It is partnering with God in “making all things new” now, beginning to live our eternal lives now. Yes, there is a lot of violence and destruction in our world, both natural and man-made, but we have a choice to be depressed and defeated by it, OR, to realize it’s all “birth pains” of the new creation, new heaven and earth which we are invited to participate with God in bringing about.

Find your place in this season, seek God’s guidance, and trust Him to do exceedingly more than you ever imagined with your life. Surrender and find that ultimate victory and freedom await you!

Only by Grace, pat

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Reflections from the Big Island

As I spend time here in Hilo with Patti, I have lots of opportunities for study and reflection. I am practicing my "up, in and out" led by good readings from 3DM ( The "up" is easy here, especially in the solitude of Ainaola and it's beautiful countryside. The "in" is mostly with Patti now, via prayer and long walk/talks. The "out" is very diverse as I venture out and meet all kinds of people in and around Hilo; young restless ones, old seemingly content ones, and a whole host of others. Yet, I always am left with a sense that they are all seeking happiness which eludes them? Even our host family, they came here seeking fulfillment, but it is very clear that their hearts are restless. I continue to smile, make conversation when it presents itself, and always lift up prayers for those I see and engage. I am learning a very important lesson to "be", just be . . . in the moment, in His Presence. To be alert for sure, to seek His "still quiet voice" as His Spirit leads. I guess my greatest hope during this time is not so much knowing what God is doing from one day to the next, but can I bring this "attitude" back and keep it intact when I return to Sacramento?