Behold I Stand at the Door

18 11 2008

Hey guys,


Another reminder…the deadline to get registered for our Winter Retreat is quickly approaching.  As you head home for Thanksgiving, get your registration in the mail and if you need help financially mention it to your parents or pastor while you’re home.  I know things are busy so do it now while you’re thinking about it.


I won’t be sending out a devo next week so here are some Thanksgiving thoughts…


I wanted to share a poem with you from one of my favorite poets, Christina Rossetti called “Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock.” 


Who standeth at the gate? – A woman old,

  A widow from the husband of her love;

‘O lady, stay, this wind is piercing cold,

  Oh look at the keen frosty moon above;

I have no home, am hungry, feeble, poor.’ –

  ‘I’m really very sorry, but I can

  Do nothing for you, there’s the clergyman,’ –

The lady said, and shivering closed the door.


Who standeth at the gate? – Way-worn and pale,

  A grey-haired man asks charity again;

‘Kind lady, I have journeyed far, and fail

  Through weariness; for I have begged in vain

Some shelter, and can find no lodging-place.’ –

  She answered: ‘There’s the workhouse very near;

  Go, for they’ll certainly receive you there’ –

Then shut the door against his face.


Who standeth at the gate? – A stunned child,

  Her sunk eyes sharpened with precocious care.

‘O lady, save me from a home defiled,

  From shamefule sights and sounds that taint the air;

Take pity on me, teach me something good.’ –

  ‘For shame, why don’t you work instead of cry?

  I keep no young impostors here, not I.’ –

She slammed the door, indignant where she stood.


Who standeth at the gate, and will be heard? –

  Arise, O woman, from they comforts now;

Go forth again to speak the careless word,

  The cruel word unjust, with hardened brow.

But who is this, that standeth not to pray

  As once, but terrible to judge thy sin?

  This whom thou wouldst not succour, nor take in,

Nor teach, but leave to perish by the way.


‘Thou didst it not unto the least of these,

  And in them hast thou done it unto Me.

Thou wast as a princess, rich and at ease –

  Now sit in dust and howl for poverty.

Three times I stood beseeching at thy gate,

  Three times I came to bless they soul and save;

  But now I come to judge for what I gave,

And now at length thy sorrow is too late.’


We usually spend time at Thanksgiving talking about the things that we are thankful for…you know food, friends, and family.  And it is wonderful to give thanks to God for his provisions, but God has called us to do more than that.  This poem is obviously a retelling of the story told in Matt. 25.  This Thanksgiving remember that we are called to serve the least of these and this service is a direct result of our desire to be in relationship with our Heavenly Father.  By serving others we are serving Him. 


Be thankful for what God has provided for you and through that thanksgiving, let service arise.


Happy Thanksgiving!


To the King!


George’s Flaming Sword

12 11 2008

Hey guys,


So just another friendly reminder about our upcoming Sundesmos Winter Retreat.  Get your registrations in ASAP so we can know how many to plan for.  Please don’t let money be a reason for not coming.  If you feel that the registration fee is not manageable I’d encourage you to get a hold of your pastor and see if there’s someone in your local Meeting that could sponsor you.  Offer to come back to Meeting and give a report about the Retreat so people can feel like they’re involved.  Let me know if you really want to come but can’t afford it and we’ll make it happen, don’t let money be the reason you aren’t able to come to this great weekend.  We’ve got plans to go to a Pacers game, a Progressive Dinner evening, good worship time together, a service project, and I’m guessing there’ll be at least one game of sardines.  It’ll be a good time!


So I’ve been reading a new edition of a book that was written some time ago about the life and legacy of George Fox and I’ve been again reminded of how young the first Quakers were when they started sharing passionately about their life-changing experiences with Christ.  George himself was in his 20s and 30s when he began challenging the institutional rigid church.  He had such an unsettled nature about the spiritual food he was being fed and searched for something more.  He knew that his hunger was not being met and the Church, the Body of Christ, could be more.  Sound familiar?


The thing that spurred his passion on was the intimate knowledge that he received from being transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit in his life.  He knew a new self, a self that was one with God…that was an ambassador of Him in a fallen world.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.  So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

2 Cor. 5:14-20


It’s this idea of reconciliation, of building relationship and dying to self in order to live with and for Christ, that gave Fox and the early Friends their message.  Because we’ve been “born again”, if you will, in Christ Jesus we are a new creation…we are clean, we are able to be in right relationship with God.  This then translates into every aspect of our life…the integrity of our business transactions, our view of the equality of mankind, the desire to bring about peace with each other…all the things that we as Quaker stands for are a direct result of this transformation into reconciliation with God through the death of His Son on the cross.  Fox writes in his Journal when he was about 24 yrs old about the experience of having his “self” cut down by the Holy Spirit, having felt that refining fire working in his soul to help him discern and cleanse himself from temptations in order to return to a state like that of Adam in relationship with God in the garden before he fell.

Now was I come up in Spirit, through the flaming sword, into the paradise of God.  All things were new; and all the creation gave another smell unto me than before, beyond what words can utter.  I knew nothing but pureness, innocency, and righteousness, being renewed up into the image of God by Christ Jesus; so that I was come up to the state of Adam, which he was in before he fell…But I was immediately taken up in Spirit, to see into another or more steadfast state than Adam’s in innocency, even into a state in Christ Jesus, that should never fall.  The Lord showed me, that such as were faithful to him, in the power and light of Christ, should come up into that state in which Adam was before he fell.

(George Fox’s Journal, p.97)            


Do you have the ache for something better for the Church, the Body of Christ?  Do you long to be in right relationship with God and to have a community of believers who passionately strive to live out their lives as people transformed by the flaming sword of the Spirit bringing them in closer intimate relationships with God?  You are in good company.  That’s what Quakers are suppose to be!


Praying for you!


To the King!


Praying for Obama

7 11 2008

Hey guys,


Well, what a week we’ve had!  We truly are living in exciting times!  Its kind of hard to believe that the campaigns are over and life is suppose to get back to normal now…whatever normal is now.  We’ve elected our first African-American president, our economy is shot, we’re still at war.  What is normal?  Is change our new normal?


I don’t know…but I do know that its exciting to see people engaged, people passionate about our world and the possibilities of our future.  What role do we as Christians play in that?  I won’t even attempt to answer that question.  There seem to be so many suggestions floating out there about how Christ’s followers should be involved and I’m not going to jump on any of those band wagons right now.  Instead I’d like to simply ask that we be intentional about prayer.


When I was growing up my mom plastered our refrigerator with pictures.  You couldn’t even see the white enamel of the door because there were so many pictures on it.  Sometimes if you opened the door too fast a few of them would go flying off into space and you’d have to search for them all over the kitchen floor in order to replace them.  You hoped that they didn’t accidently end up in the no-man’s land under the fridge or in between the stove and the fridge.  Why did she do this?  Because these were people we were praying for…missionaries, old friends, people from our church, family members, people who sent Christmas cards that we hadn’t seen for ages.  Some people I only knew from their picture on our fridge.  But those were people in our prayers.  I’ve found myself following in my mother footsteps (gasp!) and I’ve got a few different pictures up around my computer here, of people I want to pray for too…John Muhanji from Kenya, some friends of mine who are getting ready to go to Cambodia as missionaries, some of the WYM interns…people that I want to remember to pray for.  And Wednesday morning I came to my office and I changed my desktop background to a picture of the Obamas because every time I turn my computer on I want to remember to pray for them.


A good friend of mine from seminary challenged me last night, during a conversation we were having about politics, about what prayer for our president should really look like.  We so often pray with our own agenda and issues behind our prayers.  We pray that our leaders will be wise and make the right decisions and we hold them accountable to the issues we care about.  But how often do we selflessly pray for them.  For Barack and Michelle’s marriage.  For the two little girls that are getting ready to move halfway across the country into a strange and unfamiliar environment with their new puppy.  For the emotional health of Barack as he enters into such a highly stressful position after such a remarkably grueling campaign.  For their spiritual lives…that they may find time to spend with their Lord and know in a real way how much their Heavenly Father loves them. 


I’d like to challenge us to be intentional about our prayers.  Be selfless and humble, knowing that in God all things are possible and that His will is supreme in all our lives, including the Barack Obama’s.


Now I’m returning to you.
   I’m saying these things in the world’s hearing
   So my people can experience
   My joy completed in them.
   I gave them your word;
   The godless world hated them because of it,
   Because they didn’t join the world’s ways,
   Just as I didn’t join the world’s ways.
   I’m not asking that you take them out of the world
   But that you guard them from the Evil One.
   They are no more defined by the world
   Than I am defined by the world.
   Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth;
   Your word is consecrating truth.
   In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world,
   I give them a mission in the world.
   I’m consecrating myself for their sakes
   So they’ll be truth-consecrated in their mission.

            John 17:13-19 (MSG)



Come to our Winter Retreat this January!


To the King!