Random Blog Clay Feet: 2009-04
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

New Hope

We had a significant time yesterday at church that produced a lot of hope in our hearts. Interestingly, the study for this past week was on the subject of hope and as I look back on yesterday I suddenly realize that I was inspired with more hope for the local church and our future.

If you have read the previous post you will be aware of a major event that happened in my relationship with another person in this church. This was continued and confirmed when we met again yesterday before and after the service. In fact, as we were gathering together for a delicious meal after church this person came up to me and insisted on giving me a very emotional hug and shared with tears in their eyes that they viewed me as a brother in Christ. This is in sharp contrast to the avoidance and tension that has been in place over the past few months between us.

Yesterday was also the first time we met our new pastor. He used his sermon to relate to us his own story of how he found himself in this position as our pastor. The story was both compelling and very encouraging to our hearts as it became very clear that it was God's obvious providence that led him to be here at this point in time. I have been praying earnestly for God to send the right couple to be our pastor during this time of expected revival and I feel even more confident now that He is answering our prayers.

Not only does this couple have the right qualifications and experience for this job, but the spirit that I sense in them is exactly what the doctor ordered as my parents would have said. Although this is actually his first position as a pastor, God had called him into the ministry a number of years ago and then caused him to wait for years to test his faith and patience just like Abraham. I am deeply moved and excited to see what God has in mind for this district and I want to be a willing partner in God's plans to bring real revival, life and joy into places where all of that has been lacking for so long.

Thank-you God for your blessings and most of all for your heart of compassion and love and grace. Show us your plans and cause us to walk in your ways so that our church family will become a place of grace and nurture, so that we can be a safe environment for people to grow, to make mistakes and still be loved and accepted. Fill our families with your love, your life, your presence and fill our pastors with your power and presence and glory. I pray all of this because its all about your reputation, not ours.

Friday, April 17, 2009


I experienced another one of those wonderful events that come into my life once in awhile that absolutely must elicit genuine and heart-felt praise to an amazing God who can do the seemingly impossible.

Over the past few months I have been experiencing increasing tension with a person in my church. I suspected that it had much more to do with the history of my Dad in this church than it had to do with me, but I simply could not find a way to escape that association and identification with my Dad's reputation in the local church. This assumption about me was poisoning a number of relationships and I was at a loss as to how to overcome it. So I had to just keep putting it into God's hands and asking for a right spirit to love people even while being judged and even censured by some people behind the scenes.

I have been learning a great deal from God through this ongoing experience and I am well aware that it is far from over. But things came to a head not long ago when I attempted to reconcile with one of the main individuals who seemed to hold the most animosity towards me but was curtly rebuffed. They told me in no uncertain terms that they were not willing to talk with me except on a superficial level in public. They refused to even tell me anything about why they were upset with me.

This left me feeling very much in a quandary and again I had to simply leave it in God's hands and depend on Him to guard my own spirit against being overcome with resentment, bitterness or judgment. I continued to pray for this person and every person in our church with faith that God can do anything and specializes with the most difficult situations. I saw Him transform my Dad a few years ago and that was a completely impossible case as far as I could see.

As I continued to leave it all in God's hands I felt impressed a few days ago to write this person a letter trying to let them know how I felt and my perspective. I tried to carefully address the various issues that I thought was bothering them and prayed very earnestly all the while I was writing the letter for the right spirit to be felt in everything I said. Then I mailed it off early this week and again left it in God's hands and just rested in Him.

Today after work I realized that I was nearly out of gas and so I went to Wal-Mart to fill up. I thought my card was out of money and so I ran into the store to put some more on it and immediately saw this person and their spouse coming toward me on their way to the check-out. I decided to greet them and make small talk as they had indicated they were willing to do and we had a good conversation for about ten minutes about various things.

After their spouse went to talk with someone else for a few minutes this person shared that they had received my letter and had read it. I felt quite a bit of apprehension as I waited for their next words having no idea of how they felt. Their following words brought a flood of relief and joy to me as they apologized for the way they had been treating me. They affirmed that indeed they had been convinced that I was going to be just like my Dad during his later, very troubled years and they had been very apprehensive about me. After reading my letter explaining that I had been on the receiving end of much of my Dad's problems they realized that I was not a clone of my Dad after all.

Upon hearing this I felt immense relief and excitement at what God was doing in our lives and we ended up sharing with each other for around an hour while standing in the middle of the main part of the store in front of the registers. It was such a relief to have this shadow removed, and they finally had to let me know finally that they had a doctor's appointment that they needed to go to.

The timing for this is also rather interesting to me. Tomorrow is the first time our new pastor is speaking at our church and I have been wondering how he was going to relate to this ongoing thorny problem that has been causing so much tension in our church. Now that the situation has completely changed I am wondering what God has for us next. I can hardly wait to see.

After our conversation ended I quickly moved into an empty store aisle so that I could release some of the enormous and intense gratitude bursting from my heart in words of praise to my God who had again pulled off a huge breakthrough in changing hearts. He has given us the ministry of reconciliation and I want to see it continue to grow and deepen and transform my church. During our conversation I shared with this person my dream that I believe God wants to do things with this church far beyond our wildest imaginations and they agreed with me. I believe this is only the beginning but a very important step in that direction.

Father, words fall far too short of ever being able to express the feelings and relief that You have brought to me. This just has Your fingerprints all over it and I want to thank You in ways beyond the simplistic words that we typically offer You. Make my life an example of Your experiment of grace, joy and peace as You continue to infect this church with Your sweetness, love and unity for Your name's sake. You are simply awesome. Continue to reveal even more of Your amazing ways to us as we learn to trust You even more fully.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Odds and Ends

Since I have somewhat isolated this blog by creating other ones that specialize in what I write on most of the time, it leaves me realizing that I have to be more intentional about relaying things going on in my life if I want to keep this site somewhat active. Most of my writing ends up on my Deeper Word blog and I have not been much at writing about the average kind of life that I normally live. But then there is always that subconscious, subtle pressure of keeping up appearances on a blog....

For the past several months we have been staying after church with whoever feels like staying, and then after sharing some food together we spend some time visiting or sharing about spiritual things. Since nearly everyone lives quite a distance from the church it just seems logical to me that this is the best time to create opportunity for people to come together more effectively socially if they desire. It avoids having to make another trip for people to get together and allows time to socialize more freely than is conducive during a service. So far usually only about five people have stayed but recently a few more people have occasionally stayed by to fellowship with us.

Today we showed a video, the first in a series by John Regier called Rekindling Marital Intimacy. Though it is geared toward helping married people resolve strongholds so that they can enjoy deeper connections with each other, the principles apply across the board for everyone. I have watched this video countless times before but each time it seems almost like the first time there is so much to remember. And it has been several years since I saw it myself.

I am not sure how people felt about it because we got very little feedback so far. The first session is a bit long and sometimes causes feelings of restlessness, but it thoroughly covers the introduction to all the rest of the seminar. This seminar relates details about ten strongholds that the enemy has within our lives and both the effects of those strongholds as well as methods of how to resolve and become free from them. As these strongholds are released from our hearts we can then begin to experience genuine love, affection and fuller life in relationship with those around us.

I am praying that God will do some dramatic things in our church family to resolve the many differences and tensions that are lurking just beneath the surface. I want to cooperate with Him and to have some idea of what His plans are so that I can be part of God's solutions instead of part of the problems. Next week we will meet our new pastor for the first time. We are looking forward to that.

In a few minutes we are going to another town where some friends have invited us to attend a Passover meal at their small Barn Church. They have become interested in studying the Old Testament over the past year or so and recently decided to celebrate a Passover meal together in a unique way for fellowship and enlightenment. I have no idea what it is going to be like but am looking forward to whatever happens.

Friday, April 03, 2009


I just want to take opportunity to share a little of what it looks like in my front yard. I am not a big fan of flowers in pots, but sometimes the flowers that God puts in the woods or the grass grabs my attention and I like to savor the moments as a gift from Him.

And then there was this busy little bee....

Have a blessed spring!