Adventures AWAKE

A pithy little blog encouraging creative adventures of the Christian spirit

Crisis March 16, 2010

“A crisis is a terrible thing to waste”

~ Dick Clark, CEO/Merck Manufacturing

Want an adventure? Pray in a new way: With a friend, on your face, in a journal, outside, out loud, using promises of Scripture, in silence, in a song. Here’s a thought: Ask God how. (I’ve been doing that a lot around here, lately). Then, share  your experience — good, bad or indifferent — with someone. It will encourage your prayer life and theirs!

Ephesians 6:13-18 (The Message)     Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

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Inside outside upside down October 29, 2009

Children_IndiaWhen I was a copywriter I was taught basic creative problem solving, early on. One such primary lesson was that in order to capture your target audience, juxtapose two opposites.

“It’s the inside-outside, upside-down Kingdom where you lose to gain and you die to live…”

~ Misty Edwards, Servant of All

The greatest are least, the least are greatest. In the depths of experience and spirit, we serve the greatest who are the least. We serve the Greatest who is the least. I am captured…

 

Want an adventure? Find a way to live today in the inside-outside upside-down Kingdom. (Hint: It will be the opposite of your norm — it will change you).

 

Yellow brick road of friendship July 29, 2009

Filed under: Creative Christian Adventures & Encouragement,Healing,Jesus,Journey — Amy Pierson @ 8:49 pm

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Friendship is an art and all healthy people work with the medium. Some are better artisans than others but — whatever the case — we are built for relationship. God operates in the Trinity. Jesus had the disciples. We are born into families. Dorothy had Toto, Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion. It is the grand design.

So why in the last year have I had numerous conversations with so many who are really lonely? They have plenty of friends but few close confidants. They are delightful people who despite being engaging and involved with lots of causes, interests and ministries are missing something that only a deep, transparent friendship can provide.

I can write about this because I count myself in this category.

It seems I can’t beg, buy or build the kind of relationship I’m talking about. Trust me, I’ve tried! I’m not Miss Popular but people often tell me, “you know everybody!” and, I think, assume that my plate is full of “go-to” people. Quite the contrary. I long for those. On the surface we are all too busy but I suspect more truthfully we are scared. Scared to be discovered, scared to be known, scared to have the dark areas of our lives brought out in the light. I get it. Who wants to be exposed?

But, we all need at least one or two friends who will “go there” with us. Like any relationship, there is not a program to follow or a book to buy that can assure success in making friends. But Ican decide to risk, make efforts to be vulnerable. It doesn’t happen in an instant, it’s a decision to journey; a first step on the yellow brick road of relationship. Jesus didn’t hang out with pretty people, engaged in cocktail party conversation and coiffed to present perfection. He risked; dug in — investing time and attention in twelve (with a special focus on three). He washed their feet, confronted their pride, shared intimate  insight, and modeled compassion to the least deserving of their culture. 

In the Wizard of Oz, none of the others Dorothy journeyed with were perfect — all had huge holes in their character (or should I say, in their hearts, minds, courage and identity) but they knew if they could get to the Emerald City all would be saved. Once in town, when Dorothy discovered the wizard of Oz to be merely a man behind the curtain, did she reject him? — No. She freed him from the false self he had constructed. And he went on to help her find her way home, too. Back in Kansas, Dorothy and all her friends were transformed through the experience.

I can’t put the responsibility on anyone else but I can work on myside of things and hope to draw others over as a result. With my own transparency, I can hold open the door for friends to walk through — entering into new relational depths. With a click of my ruby red slippers, I can commit to tell my story to those I’m travelling with — the good, the bad and the ugly. And along the way, I can listen to their’s. “Realness” releases and empowers. It unwraps the dirty bandages we (and others in the history of our wounded past) have bound over our shame, cleanses the wound and re-wraps it with the clean gauze of grace. When this happens as a regular, intentional part of our lives, we are healing and we are healed.

 

Want an adventure? Assess your friendships. Who are you connected with and why? Who would you call a “go-to” person in your life, spiritually-speaking? Who would you call a “like-minded traveller” on your journey? What are you doing to grow that relationship?

 

Threshold July 13, 2009

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At the threshold of the new day stands the Lord who made it

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I had a lousy week last week. Admittedly, I lacked objectivity in my grief over our dog’s death. Not that grieving isn’t necessary…it definitely is! But I’ve been wallowing in it. It seemed the first few days that — just as when Rascal used to find some stinky thing in the yard to roll in — I was languishing in the sadness of losing her; inexplicably drawn to the dung of hopelessness.

I guess there are a lot of things I could feel hopeless about, if I let myself.

Last night, my daughter and I watched Valkyrie — a 2008 movie depicting the final plot to overthrow Hitler 9 weeks before his suicide and the ultimate Allied victory in 1945. What a lot of people don’t know is that Dietrich Bonhoeffer  (German pastor, theologian and activist) was on the periphery of this attempted coup — introduced to the cause of General Beck by his brother-in-law, Hans von Dohnanyi.

Exposed to the struggle of black Americans through study of Civil War Negro Spirituals while attending New York’s Union Theological Seminary in 1930, Diethrich brought back a profound sense of human rights with him when he returned to Berlin (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfsO-JhqZak). Ultimately, when he recognized the oppression of the Jews by Hitler’s regime, Bonhoeffer’s decision to “stand in responsibility” against the brutality of the Third Reich seemed reflexive. This decision led to his imprisonment in Buchenwald, Schonberg and finally Flossenburg. All the while, this brave saint ministered to despairing prisoners and wrote chapters of his work, Ethics (which were smuggled out by sympathetic guards).  Despite the gallows that loomed on the horizon did he wallow, I wonder? Not according to witness reports and his own manuscripts. This man had the big picture clearly in focus. The legacy of his underground writings are a testimony of life as a disciple of Jesus — sustaining soul and fellow believers every step of the way.

So, how did I get here from Rascal dying? (For heaven’s sake, this started over a family pet). Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about God’s purpose in grief. Why do I struggle so much when illness strikes, persecution happens, hopes are dashed, people (or pets) die? Why did God design me to feel so deeply this way? My conclusion today is: I need to yearn for reunion. As a part of that, every day is a threshold to cross over as I determine to step toward the One who made it, and toward my ultimate, eternal reunion with Him and those I love. 

I’m stepping over today. In the blink of an eye, we’ll all be there…and you’re gonna love my dog!

 

Want an adventure?  (Another great Bonhoeffer quote. Last words before his hanging: “This is the end – for me the beginning of life.”) What grieves you? Injustice? Loss? Illness? Need? Ask God to show you His purpose in it? On a heavenly level, what does it make you yearn for? Step eagerly over the threshold of this new day purposing to redeem it until…

 

Simple lessons from Fred Flintstone July 7, 2009

 

Don’t try to take this too deep or too seriously, but we all need to lighten up our perspective from time to time. Today’s insight comes from one of my favorite childhood cartoons: The Flintstones. So just what can be learned from old Fred?Fred_Flintstone

 

He left Arkenstone for Bedrock – Fred needed to get away from the rut of his little world so he set out for Bedrock (see previous post). Like Fred, I need to want more.

Mr. Flintstone made his work about the rock – He worked as a bronto crane operator digging daily at Slate Rock and Gravel company. Despite his frustrating boss, Mr. Slate, in his own bumbling way Fred got it done. Whatever I’m doing, my highest calling is to “be about (the) Father’s business”, too. (Luke 2:46-52)

His daughter’s name was Pebbles – as his child, she was a “chip off the old block”. I affect those in my care. Whether it’s a child, a spouse (God bless the forever-patient Wilma), or a best friend like Barney Rubble (the name says it all), if my life is based on rock-solid Truth, those close to me will bear with me to bear witness and ultimately reflect the truth of my life. (Ephesians 2:18-20, The Message).

 

 

 

Want an adventure? Consider this: What bedrock do you need to get to? Is your occupation (or pre-occupation) about that? Who are you affecting with the Truth?

 

Mountain Biking with Jesus July 2, 2009

Mountain biking. What a great sport! When I was single (which tells you it was quite a while ago), I used to mountain bike at least a couple of days a week. But for years now my bike has been — shall we say — out of tune due to lack of use. But a couple of days ago, I pulled it out for a trip to Beaver Creek with out-of-state state friends. As the wheels hummed, the tires skidded each gravely turn, I remember what I love about the sport! Man, I gotta get back to this.

Then, we went off road.mtn bikes

A single-track path into the lush green lured us into the unknown. So beautiful!  and — other than the sound of me sucking wind — very peaceful…at first. I think whoever first forged this trail did that on purpose. The further you got from the wide-open way down, the longer we were on the narrow way, the trickier things got. And, the trickier things got, the more I seemed to hear God’s many lessons.

  1. I was much braver when I was younger (sort of in a hot-air-balloon-without-sandbags kind of way),
  2. I need someone with me on the journey — both to make it more fun and to help when I fall (notice the use of the word “when“),
  3. I can learn a lot out here paying attention to God’s incredible creation — vistas and valleys, fresh springs and brightly flowered meadows, bold wildlife, rough terrain,
  4. The trail may begin with another, but it ‘s ultimately about me and God,
  5. When I focus on the obstacles, instead of the trail ahead, I loose my balance.

That last one, I seem to have forgotten. It was like re-visiting an epiphany; an “I’ve learned this before” moment, but nonetheless profound. When I spot a big rock in my course, the absolute worst thing I can do is to lock my vision on it and abandon the perspective of where I’m heading. To do so, is a sure “biff, splat”. Just like when trying to balance on one foot, to focus on my foot messes me up…to focus on a spot out in front of me makes balance possible.

Rarely is God’s calling on the wide open road. My off-road journey is where I’ll find Him glorified in my life because it is just that — my life, my ride with Him alone. And, God’s calling is not to focus on the obstacles, the fears, the failures. God’s calling — His ultimate glory — is on the outcome somewhere on the horizon. It is in my struggle that we meet on the mountain and He reveals the purpose and the path I am to follow.

 

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:18

 

Want an adventure? Take a bike ride (it doesn’t need to be on a mountain). Use all five senses to hear God on the journey. Look around. Listen. How did He meet you on the trail? Be blessed and ride-on with new perspective!

 

Rap challenge June 15, 2009

Missions exist because worship doesn’t.
People don’t worship the God who made them.
We’re ambassadors.
Let’s go!

~ Lecrae, from his song “Send Me!” (If you want to hear the whole challenge, visit this link)

 

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(Author’s note: Actually, I think I already look like that…and I’m ok with it).

 

Want an adventure? Listen — really listen — to some Christian rap music. Allow yourself to be challenged by the raw and real of what you discover.

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful. Praise the Lord with the harp; make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy. For the word of the Lord is right, and all His work is done in truth. ~ Psalm 33:1-4