Embrace Your Inner Moss Pt. 2

     Last week we started this discussion about gardening. The question I raised was:How hard should we work to change the  landscape around us to fit into the mold of what current opinion says is beautiful?

     I am in the minority I think. I really like the moss most other lawners and gardeners work so hard to get rid of.  I even think that in certain respects crab grass is kind of cool. Now I work hard at my gardens. I mow. I prune. I move things around. But I really do try to think out of the box when it comes to subduing the world around me.      

     You may remember how originally I planned to get rid of all this stuff: It looked really gangly and gross when I moved in. I fought with it and took up a whole day in March trying to make it leave our lawn. I am really glad it was stubborn enough to stick it out until spring. Had I succeeded I never would have seen the spring landscape I now enjoy so much from my coffee table under the shade trees. Come on admit it it’s quite a picture!

        I’ll admit I like the wild look. There’s something intrinsically godly about it. I’ll also admit I am too lazy or too busy to fight with the lawn to make it line up in straight rows. I don’t know but I’ve never met a garden that wanted to grow square. The world is round and everything I have ever planted seems to grow in a circle or a curve. It’s we humans that insist everything be stuck in a box!

     Have you ever noticed that the more you insist on boxing things in, the more you insist on everything coming out exactly as you planned, the less it does so?  Case in point: I bought dirt for my garden boxes. I even asked the “expert” at the counter how much I needed. He told me. I bought the amount he recommended. He lied!

     I filled my boxes and had enough dirt left to fill another garden. Now I was wrankled. A part of me wanted to call the guy tell him to come get his dirt and give me a refund. Another part told me I should move the dirt across the lawn and cover the grass clippings with it. The achy broken part of me won. The part that says “Embrace your inner moss” took over and I built this

     Muddy says it looks weird. Most of our neighbors are probably wondering what the heck I am building. But at the moment I was sick of fighting with the dirt so I decided to embrace what I had and make the best of it.

      Those of you who read my post regularly know by now that I am not really talking about moss or dirt or gardens at all. I’m talking about an attitude.

      Life often hands us what looks like junk…trash…or moss. The beautiful thing about life is we get to decide what to do with the junk/trash/moss we are handed. I’m not saying we should always keep it. But sometimes I think we have to find a way of living with our moss. We have to find a way of making our “moss” into a blessing. What can we pull out of it? What can we turn it into that will benefit?

     As I close I just want to remind you that sometimes those things we think our greatest bane can become our greatest blessings if we only choose to embrace them for what they can bring.

“what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise” (Laura Story, Blessings)

Embrace Your Inner Moss Pt. 1

      My friend and I have been having a debate about lawn care. The debate stems from our differing opinions about gardening…and moss.

     He hates moss. He blames moss for the demise of his lawn. He believes killing his moss will bring his grass back. HE BELIEVES IN CAPITAL PUNISHMENT FOR MOSS!!!!

     I on the other hand  am a softer and gentler kind of gardener. I love moss. Moss doesn’t kill; It comes to comfort you after your beloved grass can no longer be with you. I can come up with at least four reasons moss should be let to live:

1. It comes in many beautiful shades and adds contrast to what is otherwise just boring lawn. I know I am in the minority here but I say if something has the gumption to survive a lawn mower it has earned the right to bloom where its planted….And while moss will survive the mower it also doesn’t need it: MORE MOSS=LESS MOWING!

2. Moss is squishy and fun to walk on. Come on can you honestly tell me you wouldn’t rather walk barefoot through a field of moss?

3. You can burn moss! the Irish burned peat instead of wood. I wouldn’t recommend throwing it in your oil burning furnace. But hey! In a pinch pitch a tent and start a peat fire!

4. Surviviorman says that if you’re thirsty moss stores water! It can be rung out and because it is a natural filter you can drink the water without fear of falling down dead from botulism.

     Yep lots of reasons to keep your moss. Maybe I am just lazy but I think we work too hard to alter our landscape to make it look like “Better Homes and Gardens”. Who died and made them Mother Nature anyway!

     I am all for pruning, thinning, mowing, and weeding. But sometimes I think we have just got to relax and let nature take its course….Go with the flow…Work with what we’ve got.

     I have a back lawn that is mostly moss and dandelions. To be fair there is grass too but it doesn’t rule the roost. The grass grows on the moss!

I don’t know but I think it looks O.K.




So What’s A Saint To Do?

     I have been a Christian since 1981. I never thought the day would come when I’d say I’ve been __ANYTHING_______ for thirty years. But here it is and I can actually say I have some hindsight which can serve my foresight.

    In all my thirty years as a Christian I have never heard so much end of the world talk as I have in the last few years…. And I come from “pre-trib rapture, Bible thumpin’, say it like you mean it, the end of the world is coming, so don’t get left behind” Christianity! So when I say I have never heard so much end of the world talk that’s sayin’ somethin’.

      It’s coming from pulpits, politicians, and goodness knows even pushers on the streets. We’ve seen Katrina, tsunamis, earthquakes, the reaching of the debt ceiling on Wall street, and renewed persecution of our Christian brothers and sisters across the globe. We’re experiencing the break down of the family and the rising tide of wickedness. As knowledge increases wisdom seemingly flies out the window. Meanwhile the spirit of anti-christ looms palpably just off stage. We know it. Even pagans know it.

So what’s a saint to do in light of coming events?

    Well God has given several words I think are cogent here.

1. Don’t panic – Christians are never to be driven by fear. We are the people whose inheritance is “righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost”.  How many times does the Bible tell us to “fear not”? 62 times! and that doesn’t include the times God told us not to worry or not to be anxious.

    But fearing not doesn’t just happen we have to work at it. Paul wrote to his protegé Timothy , “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.2 Timothy 1: 7 KJV  Yet in the verse directly preceding this, Paul indicates that if we are to walk free from fear experiencing power, love, and a sound mind we have to actively stir up the gift of God inside of us. We do this in two ways:

2. Pray more – Christian, we are not praying enough. The Daily Bread is great and The Word for Today is awesome. But let’s stop thinking that because we pick it up and read it as the car is warming or the coffee is brewing that we have success in our prayer life! We need a prayer movement in the church like unto the Moravians. Nothing short of prolonged daily prayer by the body of Christ as a whole will keep the church covered and free from fear and despair.

3. Prepare Completely– So many people hear about the end times and start stock piling food and water as though somehow tuna and Poland Springs will stave off an earthquake. Preparing completely is first spiritual, then mental/emotional, then physical.

      Spiritually we need to know we are ready to meet Jesus should He call for us today or a decade from now. We need to have clean consciences. Fear is averted when the child of God knows that nothing stands between them and the love of God. Frankly many of us have piles of sin between us and the Father that we have never let Jesus clean away. 

    Secondly we have to be mentally and emotionally prepared to bear whatever cross may come. Are we truly prepared to join with Jesus in the fellowship of his sufferings so that we might somehow attain the power of the resurrection? I have been really astonished at my own  misunderstanding about suffering. I can talk pretty glibly about it but going through it is another matter. It really hurts. I am learning though that even “take your breath away” pain won’t kill me. It can’t. I have eternal life. While I know that, I have had to learn that suffering will never be anything other than…suffering. I have stopped expecting it to be great or enjoyable. I have come to understand it will always stink. I have begun to learn that the best I can do is ignore it and focus on the good things and there are always good things. I have also come to an understanding that suffering is not forever; It just feels like it when your walking through it.

     Finally have prepared spiritually and mentally THEN I am ready to prepare physically. I am planning for famine. I hope it doesn’t happen but I am learning to ” grow my own”. Mostly I am trying to train myself to live simply. In America we have grown very used to our luxuries. I have begun to ask, “What can I do without?” I have begun to practice living with less. Preparing physically does not mean making it so I can keep my current standard of living. It means rethinking my standards and bringing them in line with what the Word says (and I have to tell you Americans have a skewed view of what prosperity really is). Preparing physically means listening to what the Lord says we should do to make ourselves ready and doing that. For some its paying off debt. For others it’s getting into better physical condition. For others it is building up a food supply. For all of us it is learning that God has always provided for His people in times of need even if it meant He had to supernaturally drop bread from Heaven every morning.

So what’s a saint to do? I guess really it’s just what we should have been doing all along.


Passion: Dits and Fratz

     Theatrical productions are put together in stages: casting, read through, character development, rehearsal, set build, tech, dress  and run. Most of these phases also have component pieces they are broken into. With a set build for instance there is the design , the construction, painting and the final touch-ups which my sister calls “dits and fratz”.

     “Dits and fratz” is the fine tuning of a set: Hanging curtains in fake windows, fluffing pillows, hanging pictures on the walls, you know, all the stuff that makes the suspension of disbelief easier for an audience.

    Ditsing and fratzing is always the last part of set build. After all you can’t very well hang  pictures on a wall that hasn’t yet been constructed can you?

    Now I dits and fratz with the best of ’em. After all it doesn’t take much to dust an end table or fold a throw. Sometimes  the crew will even let me slap a coat of paint on the wall once it’s up as long as it doesn’t have to look too pretty. That however is the limit of my set build ability. Set carpenters usually send me for the coffee or the pizza when it comes time to break out the power tools (maybe its the story about trying to install a toilet with a pipe cutter that gets to them).

     My point is, I need the carpenters to do their work before I can dits or fratz. I have to wait for them to finish their job if I want my work to stand under the pain of scrutiny. I get that when it comes to building a set.  So often I forget it when it comes to my Christianity.

     Jesus said “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.  “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.John 15:3,4 NLT

        Apart from Jesus I can do nothing! Oh, how I want to deny the fact that all my work…my “very important” ministry is essentially just dits and fratz in the scheme of kingdom building. I want to be noticed. I want people to applaud me. I want the credit. So I start ditsing and fratzing before God even comes up with a design for the stage.

       I tell God how I’ve got it all figured out. I start hanging my event posters and setting up chairs for my “awesome” ministry programs thinking that the work is the point. I forget that God hasn’t even started giving directions for the set build never mind  a solid foundation of anointing for the ministry to hang on.

       I was meditating on these verses this morning when God whispered in my ear “This is the point. This is the most effective place of ministry. Much of your work is just a context for you to pray in. For apart from me you can do nothing.”

     Man what a heavy revvy! Most of my years as a minister I have considered prayer the thing you do so that the really important ministry work can be blessed of God. Now I am beginning to see that the ministry work is the thing I do so that the really important prayers can be directed and lifted up to God!

     I am not negating the importance of a minister’s labor. Preaching, charity, visitation is all necessary. Yet I have done the job long enough to know that in and of themselves these things are just dits and fratz helping people with a temporary suspension of disbelief. When God gets involved through the prayers of one of his saints, though, disbelief goes out the window all together and lives are changed for eternity.

     I’d say its time for less ditsing and fratzing. I’m off to pray!