Adventures AWAKE

A pithy little blog encouraging creative adventures of the Christian spirit

Space, flame, transformation…and marshmallows July 7, 2010

It’s camping season. Maybe that’s why when I saw this poem on a friend’s blog, it seemed right to swipe it. That and maybe the fact that, as my husband says, “we Piersons don’t camp…we golf.” It has left me somewhat longing for those growing-up days when my family would load our backpacks for a trek into the Rocky Mountain wilderness. Ahhh nature. After a few days on the trail — clothes caked with dirt, fish slime, and the smell of hours by the campfire — we’d find our way back home. One of my favorite memories is still sparked with the whiff of an open campfire. Hence, the pull toward Judy Brown’s  poem, Fire:
What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water.

So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on logs,
then we come to see how
it is fuel, and the absence of fuel
together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time. 
A fire
grows
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

(San M. Intrator and Megan Scribner, Editors, Teaching with Fire: Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Teach. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003, p,89.) 


Nature. It gives me breathing space. And, in that space is the breath of God. Why too often it takes me getting out of the house to remember that, I’ll never know. This poem floods my senses with all the goodness of God’s creation right outside my door and, more importantly, reminds me of the Divine purpose for space — creating and maintaining it —  in my life with Him. His air and raw material combine in careful balance to create energy, warmth and reaction. Without building empty space into a fire’s structure — the careful placement of each timber and twig — nothing catches. The flame dies.

As long as you’re along for this mental hike, let’s take another step: The prose also begs me to cozy into the fiery embers of the space between. I imagine myself a marshmallow within those spaces — being changed into a treat to be savored. I am transformed by my time in what’s set apart. While in life I don’t relish the refinement of fiery trials, I actually prefer my marshmallows a tad singed.  The open fire somehow develops the flavor into a toasty, charred-wood sweetness that is unmatched by any other heat source. So, what am I doing to position myself for change?

Fires are built-in anticipation of their function; sometimes we build them for heat, cooking, atmosphere…marshmallow roasting. Whatever the purpose, it is only when we draw near its glow that we — as marshmallows or those in need of warmth — are changed.

Want an adventure? Build a fire. Think about your life’s construction; its space and flame (or the lack of either). What gives you “breathing space”?  Think about what you can do to stoke your fire for God. Most likely, the result will ignite things and draw others close. Make some space to think about fire as it relates to God’s essence, holiness, refinement, and the activity of the Holy Spirit. Meditate on  John 21:7-19. What did the campfire add to the story?

Space and flame in all you’re called to~

 

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.

 

Whoooooosssssshhhhhhh! July 17, 2009

Desk FanI love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

~Douglas Adams

 

Want an adventure? Laugh with me…and enjoy a rejuvenating weekend. Philippians 4:6

 

No sleep July 1, 2009

Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He’s going to be up all night anyway.

~ Mary Crowley

moon and star

(Wish I’d have thought of this quote last night).

 

Want an adventure?  Try it at bedtime tonight. Make a list of what’s on your mind — worries, responsibilities, whatever. Put the list in your Bible and, as you do, lift a prayer to the God “who is able to do far more than we can possibly ask, speak or imagine” to take these things and give you peace to sleep through the night.

 

Wind farms and faith June 9, 2009

Driving through Kansas last week, we saw an almost surreal sight. All along I-70 for as far as we could see there was an endless forest of wind turbines. A wind farm of mammoth proportion. Massive in structure, synchronized in movement, these wind-whipping monoliths are other-worldly. Surveying the scene was like being dropped into a scene from War of the Worlds (as in, we humans are about to be taken over by some alien life form). Somewhere along the line, somebody noticed that this wild, midwestern countryside was a place where the wind could really howl. 

All this is in place because of the wind.

WindTurbines33In reality, these modern-day windmills have tremendous ability to generate power. Get this: In energy terms, a Tetra Watt (TW) is one TRILLION watts. The entire globe uses 15 TW each year. Wind power could be commercially harnessed to produce 72 TW of power annually. WOW! In light of our current world needs, the potential is little short of revolutionary. Apparently, Denmark clogs the tar out of us with this technology producing almost 20% of their energy this way.

More tidbits of wind technology: Turbines like the ones I saw along I-70 are three-bladed (coincidence with the Trinity? — you decide). As the wind changes, they are adjusted by computer to point into the wind. Their tips spin six times faster than the actual wind speed — making them exceptionally efficient and reliable. Each blade is somewhere between 65-130 feet long, each tower roughly 200-300 feet tall. An impressive sight, yet they’re intentionally painted gray so they vanish against the clouds. Blade angles can be remotely adjusted to collect the maximum amount of wind energy for the time of day and season.

Spiritually-speaking, most of us have trouble giving ourselves over to the whims of the wind. However with some deeper thought, I’ve decided that I want to be Denmark. By recognizing the wind of the Holy Spirit on the horizon, I want to be light-years ahead in my faith journey (and, if I can’t be Denmark, I’ll settle for Kansas — a wide-open spot where the wind can really blow). There’s no denying the prospects of profit. I yearn to be moved by the breeze (or the bellow) of God on a daily business; a weather vane of His activity — responding to turn with Him in directions that energize the lives of others. Each minute, I want His adjustments to make the most of every life season. By harnessing this potential in my own life, I can help the lives of those around me to love Jesus and light the world.

 

Want an adventure? Pause long enough today to notice the breeze. Which way is the wind coming from? — going to? Sit still for a minute and feel it brush by.

See yourself as a 300-foot turbine of faith. Blow people away by your quiet, consistent revolutions of Spirit. Through intentional prayer and meditation, put yourself in the path of the Holy Spirit’s wind — centering your day on which direction He is leading you. Once you get used to this way of being, life is a breeze. John 3:8

 

 

Play! June 2, 2009

Filed under: Creative Christian Adventures & Encouragement,Rest — Amy Pierson @ 9:16 am
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playgroundMerry-go-round spinningMerry-go-round spinning

And Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.~ Matthew 18:3-4

One amazing moment last week, the power of a beautiful day strongly outweighed my “to-do” list. I went out for a walk — thoroughly enjoying the cool warmth of the morning sun (if you live in Colorado, you know what I mean). As I made a loop through our neighborhood, God spoke to me at the playground. Really.

It was a ghost town. No gravel crunching as kids ran to the swings, no shrieks of joyful adventure, no little voices pleading to “go higher” on the swings. Where was everyone on such a perfect morning? — especially, because it’s supposed to rain later this day! Why hasn’t anyone shown up by now? What a waste, I thought.

And then I thought some more.

Kids get so intense when they play. They lose themselves in it. There is no agenda other than fun    (– well, except for maybe an occasional ambush-related war plot). When I was little we used to lose all track of time playing games in the vacant lot across the street, or building tree forts in my neighbor’s yard. Fun was serious business. We’d stay out there for hours “living off the land” and spinning all kinds of make-believe scenarios. So, when was the last time I played? After a crazy busy week last week, my spirit is begging for rest and play. A chance to unwind. Sabbath.

Just like little ones, we all need fun. We need not to take ourselves so seriously. We need time to cut loose and play — knowing we’re under His watchful gaze. God is so smart.

Now, I wonder if Bill will push me on the swings…

 

Want an adventure? When was the last time you played — really played? Not on a schedule…just spontaneously enjoying a day doing something that made you happy and recharged your battery? What do you think kids accomplish when they do? Set aside some time to make it your “serious business” this week. Feel God’s pleasure. Be refreshed. Be thankful. Make it a creative and memorable time.

 

Time for a good day May 29, 2009

watchI’m trying to get out of town so time is of the essence to me, right now. RIGHT NOW! But in all my rushing around, I’m reminded of two simple concepts surrounding the tick-tick-tick of my circumstance. There are two kinds of time:

Chronos- Quantity. Measurable and allocatable. I have the same amount of time (24 hours) in everyday as you do. And then there’s

Kairos- Quality. Value-based, frequently ego-driven. Kairos is the quantum intangible. This kind of time requires a conscious decision on my part to “make time for” what is important. And while some of my chronos needs to be strategically divvied up to get things done each day, kairos needs to enter in or my days will be a vapid waste of existence. What seems even more important to me today — as I make my last minute packing and “to-do” list, is to consider from a faith perspective how to make today “count” for someone other than just me. Like any other resource, I need to steward it. So what does that mean?

Some days — like this day — the reality is I am over committed. I am ridiculously pressed. Nonetheless, there are cracks of opportunity for the hours to reflect the kairos of God. And it is mainly the result of my God-graced perspective. Asking Him to show me the kairos in my chronos is the first step to a good day. What matters to You today, Lord? How do I love you above all in my Franklin-plannerized plight? Set my agenda aside — or at least beneath — Yours. There are a lot of good things to get done…but what is best? If I demote my “necessary” drivenness to second place, I may see the person who is making my car ready for the impending road war and my interaction with him will be mindful; if the grocery store becomes a place of God’s abundant provision, I will reflect peaceful gratitude rather than waiting in the world’s-longest-checkout-line-because-all-the-checkers-are-on-break with palpable annoyance.

I’ve heard it said that our check books and our planners are a good indicator of our god/God. As our planet gets more-and-more whacked, I believe the Spirit-led stewardship of our kairos will make all the difference. People need to see the change in us and the quality of our lives — not just our intellectual ascent to the concepts of faith. The world is waiting…

I’d love to spend more time on this, but I have an appointment…

 

Want an adventure? Suspend time. Go for the kairos in your chronos. At the beginning of the day, ask God to reset your watch…guarantee you will experience a fulfillment in your day because of it. At the end of the day, look back and measure how it changed the time.