Thursday, May 26, 2011

Playing the part

Well, it has been entirely too long. I didn't realize that my real vacation would turn into a month of vacation from here too!  Oops...

Well, now that I am back, it is time to get back on the wagon. Here is one thing I have been thinking about and hopefully in a day or two I will update on different things I have been praying/working/having fun with. But for now one post.

Today I was reading 1 Corinthians 12. We as a church have been going through 1 Corinthians since last fall, and it has been very good, and very challenging. I have also been readin daily in the Message Remix:Pause, which changes the layout of the scriptures, alternating OT and NT books, getting a little bit of both with out having to jump all over, just turning the page. There are usually three OT chapters, which have gone in succession, from Genesis straight to 2 Samuel, where I am at now, and it seems it will continue through one book at a time, but somewhat "chronologically".  It has been wonderful, and a good way to work through the OT, especially reading about the law in Exodus/Leviticus/Numbers and how Jesus redefines that law.

Anyway, back to 1 Cor 12, which is about the body of Christ. We all have a part to play in the body of Christ. It is up to us to play that role perfectly (as much as we can as we are progrssively being sanctified). Peterson, in the Message, alludes to a body that is just an eye is a monster, not a healthy body. Paul also talks about how it is often the unseen, or "internal" parts that paly the most significant roles in the body. We can function without an eye, but not without a heart, or kidneys. Peterson's interpretation also alludes to the fact that our bodies are effected even when only one thing is not functioning right. But when we take care of our heart, digestive system, etc, our whole body feels good. (so much for holistic/naturapathic medicine being of the devil...). 

We all have our roles to play. Though we often (or should I say "I") want to play the "bigger" role as we define it, the Body would not function correctly if we tried to play a part other than our own. Just as John the Baptist states, I need to be less, and He needs to be more. When we play our roles, we are contributing more to the Body than we can understand. It is a beautiful metaphor because we all have bodies and can feel when something is not right or even when things are going well. Though we as individuals are many and different in our parts, when we work together we function so well.

I pray that you and I may continue to know our parts and play them brilliantly. We are not called to play someone else's or make up for others, but to encourage each other to do their best. We won't understand what this all means and how the Body truly works together until we are all together in Heaven, since that didn't happen last Saturday. What a beautiful picture it will be when the Body works together and not against each other! :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Royal post....'s April 14. My last night at the mission for this week. It's my Friday, Friday...and I kinda feel like getting down. You know, partying, partying, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun.  Hm. I should write a song about how awesome Friday is. Oh well.

So the Royals are off to a good start. Actually, surprising I would say. They have won or tied all their series so far, with the ties being two-game series against traditionally tough teams in the Twins and White Sox. I would also like to take this minute to thanks the Angels bullpen for three victories and one of those series wins. It has been fun to catch the highlights and thanks to MLB Extra Innings trying to tempt me to buy their program, I was able to watch a few games as well. I did not have high expectations for this year. I mean, I have been watching the Royals for long enough to know that this year is only going to be different in one way: their are legit prospects in AAA that can be called up and change the future of the Royals. Heck, there are three in the bullpen that are excelling right now. Never before have then Royals had such a farm system as they do now. I admit, I heckeled Dayton Moore as much as the next guy. But there is one front on which I will give him credit: our minor league system is off the charts amazing. He has told us to "Trust the Process", and only this offseason did I finally have the patience to do so, even when he signed Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francouer to play 2/3 of the outfield. He also made two very shrewd signings in Jeff Francis and Bruce Chen. Don't get me wrong, They Cabrera and Francouer deal aren't going to kill us. They are only for one year and they are considerably cheap. hopefully they play well enough to flip for a prospect or two.

Now, it is a long season, and I know that the Royals will not continue to win at a close to .700 clip. It's just not going to happen. I am ok with that too. This is the year for the guys on the roster to prove they belong before the kids get here and puch them out of jobs. That is what needs to be accomplished in 2011 in Kansas City. Also, Jason Kendall needs to not play (wishful thinking, or is it dreaming...).

I am a fan. Unabashedly. Go Royals!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Way too long...

First's been too long! After my last post I wasn't 100% what I wanted to write about, so I thought about it. I have had some more unique experiences at Portland Rescue Mission, been excited about baseball (today IS OPENING DAY!!!!), and stressing out over the Blazers.

But, what I have been thinking about most is freedom. Not freedom in a political sense, but freedom in a biblical sense. Last weekend, our sermon was on freedom. Paul writes to the Corinthians that his freedom gives him the ability to preach the Gospel in his own way, as a tentmaker instead of being paid by the church.  The sermon is posted on the Solid Rock website, which you can access with a link on the left. I have also been reading Romans. In Romans, Paul talks about our freedom from sin enabling us to live the life that we were ultimately intended to lead. I have been reading The Message: Remix/Pause. It is an interesting interpretation because it breaks up the traditional order of the Bible and mixes the New Testament with the Old and in different order (John, Hebrews, Romans). It is really intriguing to go from Numbers and clarification of the Law into Freedom from the Law. Paul mostly encourages the Romans to see that in Christ's death we have been set free from our sin and no longer need to live by it. One of my favorites has been: "Offer yourselves to sin...and it's your last free act" in Romans 6. As well as: "Sin didn't, and doesn't, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace" in Romans 5.

This freedom is a beautiful thing. Freedom from sin. Freedom from the old man. In freedom, we live for God, not for sin. I have to keep reminding myself that this freedom is indeed mine, as I have been baptized into eternal life. As I was carried under, I died to my old self (and still have to daily) and as I was raised up, I was raised into new and eternal life as was Christ Jesus my Lord. It is a beautiful thing of which I play no part but to put my faith in God's grace and Jesus' salvation.

Sin gets int he way of our living with the Father, but the freedom we have opens up doors to live a life that is not selfish but seeking God. We live for God and not for ourselves. We count it all as lose for the sake of knowing God, as Philippians 3 states. May you be blessed today!

And Go Royals!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Creative Fundraising...

Here is a video about a new Public House opening up in Portland soon. I am sure there will be folks who say PDX doesn't need another Pub as well as those who say another Pub is a great addition to Portland. Either way, this project is very exciting. Fair Warning...the video in total is 15 minutes. If you have 5, watch the first part. You will get the jist.

What excites me about this idea is, what would this look like as a coffee shop, where money goes to charities and or the farmers? I love coffee, as most who know me realize, but what I love more is the idea that coffee can help the farmers more in a Cafe`/roasters hand that see the benefit of a non-profit. I have a buddy who calls this idea a their-profit. Once the main coasts are cared for, the rest go to the farmers adn the community. Not only will this continue to increase the amount of great coffee in PDX, but it also makes a difference. As the dude in the video says, a lot of charities spend copious amounts of time, energy, and money on fundraising. Even in an economic downturn, people still go out for dinner, coffee, etc. With this idea, it makes a difference without having to dip in twice to get what they want and "feel good". Let's be honest, sometimes we give because it feels good. I don't have a problem with people assuaging their egos/self-esteem/guilt by donating money to charity, however great or small their donation. PDX is a hot bed for Pubs, and pubs done well. It is also a hotbed for coffee. What a great opportunity for the folks who "want to make a difference". I put that in quotes, because, honestly, what does that mean? I would argue it means different things to different people. It could be how one spends their time and energy, or how one spends their money, or a host of different things.

Obviously, one would have to create a great product for folks to get behind. It takes a special product and program to get something like this off the ground. I think it could work. If I could get this going it would be something where people came for good coffee, and also had the option to pick a place to donate, whether that is the Farm where the coffee came from or a local organization making a difference here or abroad. I like the idea. But what do you think? Would it work? Wouuld you be compelled to go? Would you purchase coffee from this type of operation online? Let me know what you think!!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

I am ready for baseball to really start. I always love Spring Training because of the promise of an actual spring, in Oregon, or a few short years ago, Boston. The rain is going to continue to fall, but baseball is being played.

I love looking at box scores, trying to put the game together without having watched it. Seeing who got hits off of what pitcher, how many ground outs vs. fly outs, etc. I am a nerd, and that's okay with me.

I am really interested in two teams, as previously mentioned: the Kansas City Royals and the Boston Red Sox. The Royals because I was born in Kansas and the Red Sox because, well, it started with a hatred for the Yankees, and developed more so as I lived out there for three years. The Red Sox will be good this year, without a doubt. They have the financial means to get guys they want, such as Carl Crawford, and the resources to trade four top prospects to get a guys like Adrian Gonzalez. They also have scrappy Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, and Oregon Native Jacoby Ellsbury. They will be fun to watch.

But My thoughts lately have been on the lowly Royals. I was 4 when they won their only World Series. I remember the days of Bo Jackson, Mark Gubicza, Tom Gordon, Steve "Bye-Bye" Balboni, Carlos Beltran, etc. They had some great players, but a cheap owner and hardly passable GM in Allard Baird. The past 15 years have been sorry, to say it gently. Of course there was 2003, but that was a mirage. The Royals did finish over .500, but everyone knew they wouldn't be able to make the play-offs, and they didn't. But, that was the year that got me following the Royals again.  The young guys like Beltran, Sweeney, Greinke, Dye, etc. Their was potential, but when your owner was the previous owner of Wal-Mart, what more can you expect. It was dreadful.

But, as hope springs eternal (i.e. when Spring training starts), I begin to see what may become of the Royals. I haven't been excited about a Dayton Moore free agent signing as much as I was of Jeff Francis. He is coming off injury, but this is the type of signing GMDM needs to make in order for a small market team to compete. There is a chance that Francis, if he can show he's healthy and regain his form, can be traded for a young prospect to go with the #1 Farm system in the game. This isn't just a shot in the dark, or a top-10 because one needs to be made. These players are legit prospects that have the talents to make a splash in KC that hasn't been seen since the days of Beltran and Sweeney. Balboni holds the team record for Home Run's in a season. Once Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, and Wil Myers get into town, that will not be a safe number, unlike that last few Royals teams.

Baseball begins March 31. Everyday we are getting closer, and it is very exciting. the 2011 version of the Kansas City Royals may not be entirely exciting, but this is the year we will start seeing prospects long promised graduate and make an influence on the team.

Here's to hope!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

coffee and life...

Well, today I picked up some more coffee from Mr. Green Beans. It is a lovely little shop, filled with many, many items which could fill my day, specifically different methods for brewing, roasting and enjoying coffee as well as things to make soaps and other sundry items. Then I picked out what beans I wanted to roast. I was greeted by the sweetest little girl, maybe 7 or 8 years old, welcoming me to the store. After a few minutes, she informed me about the rope she was playing with and how it worked. Too cute.

I have really enjoyed the creation aspect of Coffee. I know I wrote about the 'art' of coffee roasting, so I won't rehash that post here, but only restate that it is awesome! That being said, Coffee can be roasted well, poorly, or just, eh, in my terms. Coffee has different flavor profiles, for sure, depending on what region the bean is from, and the method of drying and removing the skin or husk of the bean. That process is more fully elucidated here. It is a neat process, and one I hope to experience first hand some day.

But I digress. My post was meant to be partially about coffee, and partially about culture. Our culture is onw where time = money. We have to get there quicker, work longer, or even take public transit so we can work on the way to work. I get it, but at the same time, I don't. Where did this idea come from. We are sacrificing the ability to really get to know people, to really engage in community when we worry about the speed of things and time in general.

Now, don't get me wrong, I like to be punctual. Time is essential for jobs, sports games, and church services. I found myself annoyed yesterday when the Blazers game, which is supposed to start at 7, didn't start until 7:10 at the earliest. But then I am reminded of a church service I attended outside of Puno, Peru in 2000. People arrived when they arrived. We sang songs, lot's of songs, and then had the sermon. Throughout the whole service, people came in, shook everyone's hand and found a seat. What would happen at your church or in class when poeple come in late? We get annoyed, right? Or being a passionate fan, we get to the game early, find our seat, watch batting practice or warm-ups, and then when the "slackers" show up we harass them for missing kick-off/first pitch/tip-off.

What would happen if we stopped letting time dictate how much time we related to others? What if I wasn't consumed about time while I was having coffee with a friend? I think we would see genuine community beginning to happen and form. We would fulfill our missional call, to carry over from the last post. We would get to know those around us. But, we also might lose our jobs, houses, etc. because the culture we live in forces us to know what time it is.

I started thinking about this thanks to an ad on Pandora and on the TV lately about "5-hour energy". I have never tried this, and don't want to. The ad stated that with coffee or tea we had to wait too long, prepare which took too long, and clean-up (heaven forbid!!). Please. If you need your quick hit, "5-hour" will work. But seriously. It's not like coffee adds unneeded calories (regular, black coffee, the real deal, that is), sugar, or any of that junk. Coffee has 10 calories, about. lifting your mug to your mouth erases that. Not only does it provide caffeine, the taste is amazing (if made right!!). I would never substitute the joy and pleasure of a good cup of coffee for a quick "shot" of "5-hour".

For me, it is about the joy of coffee, but also the pace of life. It is a reminder for me to slow down, enjoy the people, places, events happening right now. Not rushing off to the next one, but being present in the here and now. The Rich young ruler in Mark 10 was looking for the "5-hour" shot on how to inherit eternal life. He kept all the commandments, follow Judaic law, but was seeking from Jesus the quick fix. Jesus instead calls him to sell everything and follow him, something that greived the young man due to his wealth. But there is no quick fix to eternal life, aside from following Jesus in all that we do.

So, what is it, coffee or "5-hour"? It's coffee for me. Both for a pick-me-up as well as for following Jesus. I hope tha tyou shoose the coffee. Because coffee is awesome! But in life, I hope we can all slow down a bit and enjoy those around us.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Living on a...Mission...

Alright, time for another post. I was thinking about what to write about and that I should give a bit of an update. We went to a missions conference with Forward Edge International last weekend (President's Day) and got to meet a lot of great people and hear about FEI and their programs/mission. When we went to Haiti in October with our church, Solid Rock, FEI facilitated the trip, and Solid Rock has formed a partnership with the organization to continue with these monthly trips to Haiti. You should check them out here. They do short-term well!

E's job is slowly slowing down from a change in computer programs for their charting. It has been a hard transition, but we think that she can see the light at the end of the tunnel. She is a light in that place and their have been some interesting conversations with co-workers and I think she is starting to see the Spirit stirring in a couple co-workers, so pray that she has courage and continues to be Salt and Light and Love to these folks!

At the Portland Rescue Mission we have one more month of Winter Shelter. The First of April begins a new season where we only have the 50 bunks down stairs available. It is a big change for the guys that have been staying in the chapel on a regular basis. Hopefully we will be ready for the change and the new opportunity this will present for us night workers as we are less like babysitters and able to engage more in relationship.

So where does that leave me...oh yeah, living on a mission (or prayer or the edge). We have been going through 1 Corinthians at church now for about, oh, 6 months. We are on Chapter 7. Slowly making our way allows us to really look at the letter Paul wrote, but also to see comparisons for Portland and Corinth and how we can deal with the situations that we find concurrently in 2011 Portland that plagues the church and culture around 2000 years ago!  Last night (we go Saturday's nice!) and the past couple weeks, we talked about marriage. To hear that sermon, or any others (they are SOO good), go here!

One of the recurrent themes for us since moving back to Portland has been "living missionally". So, what does that mean? We had a good conversation with an elder about this, and it seems that it is something that we need to flesh out as a community. Something that we can't quite put into words at this point, but I think when we put it into action it makes more sense. It is about orthopraxy as a result of orthodoxy. Basically, what we do as a result of what we believe. What I believe should ultimately lead my actions. And my actions should point to what I believe. If I believe that God loves everyone, do my actions reflect that? If I go into another culture and plant a church that is a mirror of my church here, my actions show that the way the West does church is the only way. I hope that helps. If not, send me a message.

So what does it mean to live on mission? To me, it means in all I do, in my job, in my community, etc, I need to reflect Jesus. My actions should lead others to question what is different about me. I should reach out to neighbors, say hi to people I walk by, to care about the people I run into on a daily basis. Easy right?

How about this, let's hold each other up in prayer so that we can, as the Body of Christ, spread the gospel and the reason we are who we are (new creation) to those around us. Together we can accomplish more than we could individually. So challenge those around you to live like Christ, to reach out to those around you, to love your neighbor as yourself.

Forward Edge encouraged us to tell out story, because our story includes the redeeming aspect of Christ. Before Christ we lived for us, after Christ we live for Him. Everyone has a story. Go through your story to figure out how to be succinct and accurate, and through continuing to "live our stories" I think we will see a difference in our own lives, but also in those around us!

God Bless your journey!