Category Archives: Life

A Quad Espresso and A Man Hug

I walked into a coffee shop a few moments ago and got a man hug from one of the baristas.

This is the first time I’ve eve been here. It’s a pretty cool place.

Soft chairs. Good espresso. Free wifi.

But I don’t want to come back because of any of this things. I know of other soft seats and other places with good coffee. I have wifi at home.

I will come back because I got a hug. A man hug.

I’ve been here once//but I feel like I belong here.

I’ve known the barista since I moved here almost 2 years ago. I never got hugs back then. But he learned my name. Learned about my job and my wife.

When I came in today we asked me about all those.

I will come back because HE CARES!

I will come back because HE LISTENS!

I will come back because HE HUGS!

That’s how I want my ministry and life to be.

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Hell is for the Neutral

This was posted by Mike Foster over at the Deadly Viper Blog


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This is an actual photo from Asia with pricing for girls.


Young girls.


Children in China.

Evil exists.


It is found in those that would pay a couple American bucks for the opportunity to rape a child.


But evil also exists when we do nothing to correct wrongs. When we ignore injustice and refuse to stand up for the voiceless.


A poet once said “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in time of great moral crises maintain their neutrality.”


Forgive me. I know this isn’t very POTSC of me. But I get angry about this.


God give us the courage to do something.

Love Has Power

There is only one thing that has power completely, and that is love. Because when a man loves he seeks no power and therefore he has power.-Alan Paton (‘Cry, The Beloved Country’)

Love has power.

Complete power.

Because when a man/woman loves they seek need no power.

When was the last time you sought to give up CONTROL to someone else. When was the last time you gave up your RIGHTS to someone else. When was the last time you stopped forcing your opinion and life on someone else.

To give up power.

To Love. To surrender.

They are connected.

The hope of this kind of love is that no one is in control, no one has the right, and no one forces. No one is better than the other. No one is in charge.

Love is the rule.

Love is what we base our decisions on.

Life would look different if we based our decisions on love.

Shut Up!

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Shut up!

Now.

No.

Really, you probably need to.

I talk to much. I do a lot of mind -talking. I plan constantly, even right now as I write this, I’m still thinking about what else I need to do.

It happens when I pray. It happens when I read the Bible, or when I read books.

I like the idea of shutting up. I know I need to stop and be still.

But it’s hard work being still.

Shut up.

Do it! Stop waiting for God to hold you by the hand.

Shut up, before he makes you shut up.

He’s got something to speak with you about…but, in our busyness and multitasking we’ve cut our relationship with God down to what we have to say to him.

True spirituality is more listening than speaking.

More quiet than noise.

More still than busy.

Maybe then he’ll start speaking…

Nudity and The New Humanity

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Genesis 9:18-29…The sons of Noah who came out of the ship were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah; from these three the whole Earth was populated. Noah, a farmer, was the first to plant a vineyard. He drank from its wine, got drunk and passed out, naked in his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and told his two brothers who were outside the tent. Shem and Japheth took a cloak, held it between them from their shoulders, walked backwards and covered their father’s nakedness, keeping their faces turned away so they did not see their father’s exposed body. When Noah woke up with his hangover, he learned what his youngest son had done. He said, 
Cursed be Canaan! A slave of slaves, 
a slave to his brothers! Blessed be God, the God of Shem, 
but Canaan shall be his slave.  God prosper Japheth, 
living spaciously in the tents of Shem. 
But Canaan shall be his slave. Noah lived another 350 years following the flood. He lived a total of 950 years. And he died.

Noah is known most as the man who saved the world from the flood. But what happens next is kind of an odd way for the author to conclude the story of Noah.

The writer of Genesis, Moses, some hundreds of years later, retells this story to the Jewish people to a group of wandering slaves in the middle of a desert.

Why this story?

Why speak of a drunken Noah and naked Noah, if they were to be like Noah?

This story really isn’t even about Noah if you look a little deeper than the surface. This story is really about Ham and his two brothers.

It’s a story about the way God intends people to treat those around us and the result of the way we treat the people around us.

Nudity

The Jewish people believe that modesty is the foundation of Jewish values and is one of the fundamental underpinnings of the Jewish family. Tz’ni’ut is the Hebrew word for modesty (meaning simplicity, a touch of bashfulness, and reserve). But perhaps above these, it signifies privacy. It is the hallmark of Jewish marriage, and the rabbis refer to it as the specific quality to look for in the ideal mate.

Tz’ni’ut also means discreet habits, quiet speech, and infers the avoidance of grossness, raucous behavior, and even “loud” ornaments. This is not merely a series of behavioral niceties, a sort of Bible’s guide to etiquette, but a philosophy of life.

The idea of Tz’ni’ut was intended to preserve the sanctity of the human being from assault by the coarseness of daily life.

The problem comes when Ham does nothing about his Father lack of Tz’ni’ut. Instead, he just goes and tells his brothers.

Shem and Japheth take action. They grab a sheet, walk backwards, and cover their father. The Israelites are descendants of Shem.

There is more going on here than drinking and nudity. More than too much wine.

The New Humanity

Remember Moses, the author.

He was writing to the Jewish people, who had no identity. They had been slaves so long they didn’t know how to live life God’s way.

What’s he trying to tell the Jewish people in this story?

Don’t be like Ham.

Deuteronomy 10:12-19…Israel, what does the LORD your God want you to do? He wants you to fear him, follow all his directions, love him, and worship him with all your heart and with all your soul. 13 The LORD wants you to obey his commands and laws that I’m giving you today for your own good. 14 Remember that the sky, the highest heaven, the earth and everything it contains belong to the LORD your God. 15 The LORD set his heart on your ancestors and loved them. Because of this, today he chooses you, their descendants, out of all the people of the world. 16 So circumcise your uncircumcised hearts, and don’t be impossible to deal with any longer. 17 The LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, powerful, and awe-inspiring God. He never plays favorites and never takes a bribe. 18 He makes sure orphans and widows receive justice. He loves foreigners and gives them food and clothes. 19 So you should love foreigners, because you were foreigners living in Egypt.

Don’t be like Ham. Don’t be like Egypt.

Don’t walk away from those in need.

Dare to preserve human dignity at all costs.

Care of orphans and widows. Make justice happen. Give to foreigners.

First Dates and Sushi

I love sushi.

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A little over 4 years ago (May 27th,2005) I went on my first date  with my future wife here to Fishbones. We talked, held hands, and ate some great seafood (she got sushi). We dated for 8 months and got married July 14th, 2006. She is my best friend. I am so glad I went to Fishbones that night because for 4 years my life has been richer, deeper, and more beautiful than I could imagine.

I remember my first date (and lots of others as well). I even remember some of the food we ate.

sushi-bar-close-up.JPGOn our honeymoon in Ft. Lauderdale,FL we discovered our favorite sushi place called RA Sushi. The sushi was some of the most amazing we’d ever had (we went twice while there) and loved the design of the restaurant.

I used to hate sushi.

The first time I tried it, it almost made me throw up.

Some of my favorite memories take place around a table. First dates, honeymoon sushi, birthday celebration, and holidays all take place around a table.

The table  and food are one of the most central themes in scripture.

Communion. Feasts. Kosher. Love Feasts.

The table and food are not one of the central themes in most of our lives.

Not just eating food. We do that very well in America. But the table. The place where no one sits higher or lower than anyone, where everyone takes and shares, and the place where laughter, love, and life happens at its best.

When is the last time you can down with a group of people for a real meal?

Think Thanksgiving on steroids. Think Christmas ham. Think Easter dinner.

Why only then? Why not tonight?

A New Way to Be Human

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Stop.

Go read Genesis 6-8.

The Midrash, a collection of Rabbi’s teaching from mostly the 3rd century, speaks of how heart-broken over the violence of humanity God was. Launching from Cain and Abel to Noah (covering over 1600 years) was death, murder, exploitation, hate, and it had polluted the earth. They believed that the ultimate insult to God was to do violence to another (other than idolatry).

  • Is there a difference between the violence on the earth thousands of years ago, hundreds of years ago, sixty years ago, or 5 years ago?
  • Whether it takes place in the day of Noah or in the day of Kevin-violence is the opposite of God.  Time doesn’t discriminate. Hate and exploitation can be seen across the timeline of history; it crosses race, religion, time, and location.

Possibly one of the most amazing statements in the entire Bible happens next in the story of Noah, and continues throughout the rest of the story of scripture. I’m sorry that I made them.” BUT the LORD was pleased with Noah.

BUT

There was a difference between Noah and the rest of the humanity. There was a difference between the way he lived and the way the rest of humanity lived. He wasn’t among the violent.

In fact, God was pleased with Noah…because he lived differently.

The writer of Genesis, Moses, some hundreds of years later, retells the story to a group of wandering slaves in the middle of a desert.

Moses spent the first 40 years of his life in the best of times…then killed someone.

The next 40 years he spent in the ‘backside’ of the desert…a wasteland, herding sheep.

Then at 80, God told him to lead his native people out of Egypt into a new place God was taking them. So he did. He led them out of Egypt, through a parted sea, and to a mountain where God spoke to them.

But the Jewish people had no identity. They had been slaves so long they didn’t know how to live life God’s way.

Their past was marked by violence, hate, and persecution. They were slaves, used and abused by the powers that be.

What’s he trying to tell the Jewish people in this story?

He’s telling them to be like Noah.

He’s telling them that they can be saved like Noah.

Imagine the thoughts they had as they sat by the Red Sea as the haters and the violent drown. God just saved them through water…like Noah.

He’s telling these people who have been rescued (like Noah was rescued) to be a Noah in the land God was leading them to.

That even when they are surrounded, like Noah was, by people living the wrong way to live blameless and right.

Noah became the ‘new humanity’…not perfect (he’s the first drunk and flasher a few chapters later) but a new humanity not based on violence but a promise.

A promise of rescue. A promise of provision. A promise of a new start.

I’m going to live in the new humanity.