Archive for October, 2009

You Are The Answer

theanswer

I believe you are the answer
To every tear I’ve cried
I believe that you are with me
My rising and my light

Give me strength when I am weary
Give me hope when I can’t see
Through the crosses I must carry
Lord, bind my heart to thee

That when all my days are over
and all my chores are done
I may see your risen Glory
Forever where You are

Corrinne May, ‘The Answer‘ (melody adapted from Gustav Holst’s Planets Suite “Jupiter”)

Not much to say — except that I’m loving this song.

Being Desperate

desperation

We’re rising up in spirit and in truth
A living sacrifice we worship You
People undivided Lord hear us sing
We are Yours and You are our King

This is our love
Hearts joined as one
Desperate for all You are
Lord break down these walls
And see how we love
Desperate for all You are
We chase Your heart

We didn’t come to leave here entertained
Or worship under any other name
We’re crying out for You alone
You are holy Lord

Hillsong United, Desperate People

My laptop’s a mess. I’ve been spending the last week or so trying to fix it — first it was an incomprehensible speed problem, starting with Google Chrome behaving worse than Internet Explorer on its worst days. Eventually things began slowing down to a point the entire system would freeze. After countless forced reboots, malware scans and ninja Googling, it’s now come down to a .NET Framework failure of epic proportions. So I’ve been reinstalling Windows Installer, the various versions of .NET Framework, removing, reinstalling, etc (rinse and repeat); right now I’m running Windows in safe mode so everything’s lightning fast, except with some inconveniences such as the lack of sound and well, basically everything else.

I’m pretty much convinced that these technical problems are not coincidental, considering how ministry work is stepping up to a level that I’ve not experienced in the past eight years of being in church. Not only that, I’m seeing a beloved friendship crumble among other stirrings in the personal arena of things; God is the only thing holding my sanity together in these rather tumultuous times.

I don’t even know how to even begin writing about it. Maybe it’s part of the threshing — separating wheat from the chaff. I thought it was an essential part of my life to be perpetually connected to the internet and be busy with what I thought I needed in order to live life fully and meaningfully; now, literally disconnected and out-of-touch, I’m discovering that I can easily leave it all behind. What is the point of Facebook or Twitter or being up-to-date with the latest news, gadgets, trends and videos when it does nothing else than keep you immersed in pop culture at the cost of real human connection?

I don’t crave the latest fix of scandals, natural disasters, memes or viral videos. I don’t need to know about the Imma-Let-You-Finishes or Ris Low’s latest foot-in-mouth tragicomedies. I don’t have to know all this so I can sound clever when I name-drop or try and assert my cutting-edge, in-the-know, tapped-into-the-vein ins-and-outs of the social media ebb-and-flow.

I really don’t.

When God brought back Desperate People to my memory recently, everything flashed back to the first and only time I heard it on stage. And listening to the song again reminded me of what is really important: coming back to that place of worship. Realising that beyond ministry, beyond the hundred things we are responsible for, beyond what we imagine to be pertinent or urgent, beyond all of that and more, nothing is more crucial than the simple act of worshipping Him. Sometimes we tend to dress it all up, with fancy guitars or pitch-perfect singing, but it’s really about stripping it all away and coming to Him just as we are.

Even if my writing’s all over the place or my life is disintegrating around me, tonight I’m just going to acknowledge that I’m desperate. Desperate for all that He is.

And that will be all that I need to do.

Leaning Harder

notyet

It’s been an insanely busy few weeks, so much so that blog writing, or even writing for that matter, has kind of fallen by the wayside. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll forget how to write the way I usually do if I stop doing it long enough. Or whether I’ve lost the desire to blog for the sake of writing about my life.

Not only that, my system has been giving me massive problems — freezes, extremely slow (and frustrating) performance, weird errors — that even simple things like watching a video on YouTube or scrolling through the list of updates on Facebook are severe tests to the patience.

Ministry work has been increasing exponentially, and it’s been nothing short of an acceleration considering that I wasn’t serving at the beginning of the year. A short talk with Cheryl as we taxied home after Darrell’s birthday dinner made me see how it’s just going to get even more exciting with new responsibilities and opportunities to grow even more. God is just pulling me out of my comfort zone and putting me in situations where I’m constantly coming to this place of being absolutely certain of my inability. Learning how to lean harder.

Really, this life is not my own to live. Naturally speaking, it’s an irreconciliable concept to practical living; shouldn’t I be looking out for myself? Isn’t it my responsibility to my family and loved ones to put my interests first? Why should anyone put themselves out there or put their lot in with a seemingly archaic system for the sake of establishing a cultural identity or community-based support?

But the truth is, these aren’t the right questions.

The real issue, I reckon, is that even though in my circumstances I am brought low, seeing whirlwinds in what I thought was an iron-clad friendship and realising that ‘enough time’ is such an alien concept to me, I want to know this: am I still able to praise God and to walk each day with His joy and peace?

Maybe, some days will seem that everything is a little too much for me. But my prayer is that my response to that question will always be a ‘Yes’.

“They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.

This is what the LORD says: As I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them.  Once more fields will be bought in this land of which you say, ‘It is a desolate waste, without men or animals, for it has been handed over to the Babylonians.’ Fields will be bought for silver, and deeds will be signed, sealed and witnessed in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev, because I will restore their fortunes,  declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 32:38-44

Soul Rocket

storydetective

so you want to be a writer

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

– Charles Bukowski

Sometimes I wonder..