Help Us Help Others

Help Us Help Others
Chaplaincy Clark County

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall has officially arrived at my house by the river.

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

Fall has officially arrived at my house by the river.

The salmon are migrating up to where they will lay their eggs.

The trees are turning various shades of yellow, red, brown, and gold.

The days are warm, the nights are cold, and the mornings are brisk.

As I sat in my chair, out by the river, the mist hung in the trees. A squirrel was running through the branches getting the last of its stash into place for the oncoming winter.

There is no noise.

Well there is noise, but not man-made noise.

I listen to the river run.

I listen to squirrel running through the branches.

I listen for God.

So often, in the busyness of our days we are surrounded by other noises.
Cell phones going off.

Printers printing.

People vying for our attention.

The noise of the day can, if we will let it, drowned out the sound of God speaking to us.

God may speck in a booming voice.

God may speak loudly.

God may speak to us in a whisper, coming to us in a gentle breeze.

Are we in a place that will allow us to hear what God is saying to us?

Lord, please be patient with me. I know that I am like a child, distracted by the things that I can see. By the things that are right in front of me now. Please keep talking; please do not go silent simply because I am not paying attention. Father, I ask for your help. Help me to pay attention to the things You would have me do. Give me ears to hear. Amen.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sitting by the dock of the bay

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I'm just sitting on the dock of the bay.

I'd be watching the tide role away, except I am on a lake and a lake does not have a tide.

I have been sitting here a while now. The birds fly overhead, the wind rustles the leaves of the trees, waves lap against the shore.

I was sitting here listening for God.

It was a quiet conversation.

I wasn't saying much, He wasn't saying much. You know you are with a friend when you can sit together in silence and it isn't weird. You are just enjoying each other's company without feeling the need to fill the void with noise.

The sun was shining, the day was warm. After a while a boat went by. I watched as it first came into view, then pass by, eventually it was gone. The boat was out in the lake a ways, it did not make much noise. After it went by the wake that it made started coming to shore. The familiar slosh, slosh, slosh could be heard as the little waves broke against the beach.

That was when God broke the silence. He asked the question,"what have you learned from the boat passing by?"

This caused me to ponder for a while.

A friend once said this about me, "It might take Roger a while to come up to speed, but once he gets there he doesn't stay there very long."

I turned to God and said, "Can you throw me a bone?"

This is what He said:

We are all like boats traveling along a lake. We displace things along the way, the same way a boat displaces the water it goes through.

We cause a wake.

The wake itself is neither good or bad, it is just a wake. Our intentions and our presence define the outcome of the wake. We have all seen what bad intentions cause. They leave a wake of destruction. Good intentions, poorly thought out can leave the same wake as a bad intentions wake.
Leaving or not leaving a wake is not the question. We all leave wakes. The question is, "How do we leave a wake that positively impacts others?"

I just looked at God. I knew that if I gave Him the pat answer, "Just look to Jesus." He would say, "Ok, what does that mean? Jesus left a positive wake but look at the wake that some of His followers left, not so positive."

I said, "I guess I don't know."

God said, "You know that you are called to come into right relationship with people. You know that I told you to love you neighbor, even your enemies. You are to help people, not just when it is convenient for you, but all the time. Worry less about principles and more about presence. Your job is to show people a little bit of Me. I will take care of the rest."

My prayer today is;

Lord, have your way with me. Break my heart for the things that break yours. Take away any pride or ambition that inhibits me from doing the work You have called me to do. Make me Your hands and feet. I don't want to be splashing aimlessly, creating waves. Let the wake that I leave behind bring You glory. Amen


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Silver Bay

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I am sitting here at the Silver Bay YMCA in Silver Bay New York.

I am looking at all the beauty that is here. I totally get why people come to northern New York in the fall, the beauty is overwhelming.

Sitting here looking at God's beauty, I am drawn to something I once read:

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour. If we refused, or rather used up, such paltry information as we get, the oracles would distinctly inform us how this might be done.”

Excerpt From: Henry David Thoreau. “Walden.” iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

It is easy to fall asleep.

It takes an intentional being to stay awake to the things that God would have us see.

To affect the quality of the day, not for our sake but for the sake of others. That is quite a task, and not one that we can do of our own volition.

Without Christ we are lost.

Without Christ, the why behind the what in everything we do becomes mute.

As I continue the journey of spiritual formation, with the understanding that the process of spiritual formation is being conformed into the image of Christ for the sake of others, I pray that my life will be worthy of contemplation.

Father, help me be the person you have called me to be. Give me Your eye's, Your heart,Your thoughts. As I sit here amidst your splendor. Have mercy on me. Amen


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Enjoy the journey

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I don't know how many times I have heard, "It's not the destination, it's the journey."

While this is true on some level in spiritual formation it helps to know the destination. Knowing the destination gives us the ability to truly enjoy the journey.

I am at a YMCA camp in Silver Bay, New York.

I arrived last night.

I left early yesterday morning and spent the day in a plane, not my idea of a good time, locked in a small space, in a chair that is too small, next to someone I don't know, eating the worlds smallest bag of mini pretzels, trying to make each one last for as long as it can.

We finally landed in Albany, New York at 4pm. I saw a friend of mine, her name is Janelle, she was going to the retreat too. I was going to rent a car when she said, "See that guy over there, he is renting a car already to go to the retreat maybe you can catch a ride with him?"

I thought that was a brilliant idea, I hate spending money.

I walk over, introduce myself, his name is Dan, and off we went.

As we are leaving the parking garage Dan says, "You're the navigator."

All we had to do was take 87 north to 9 north, simple enough.

It only took us four hours to make the 90 minute trip.

Evidently, we took the wrong 9 north?

We got hungry, there was this BBQ place called pj's. We ate slop buckets with loganberry soda pops. It was real good.

We saw amazing country.

We laughed until we cried.

We almost got to Silver Bay once but there was a tree that fell across the road. We had to find another way.

It got dark.

Being men we did not resort to a map. That would just be silly.

We climbed this huge hill.

We came down the other side. Eventually we found 9 north again, but we wanted to see the tree, so we turned south.

We drove and we drove and we drove.

We found the tree, but the traffic wouldn't allow us to get close enough for a picture. We decided to take a picture of the traffic as proof.

We turned around.

We started to get hungry again. We wanted ice-cream.

We never found an ice-cream shop. What we did find was a new friend.

It turns out that Dan used the lease agreement we had with Rhapsody church as a template at his YMCA.

We talked a lot.

Eventually we got to Silver Bay.

People ask us, "Weren't you tired of riding?"

We just look at each other, smile and say, "Oh, but the journey was awesome!"

I am sitting on the shores of Lake George. The destination is amazing, but the journey was awesome.

Lord, never let tire of the journey. I know the destination. Don't let me become so focused on the destination that I don't take the time to enjoy the life You have given me.