Dance In the Rain (Rewrite)

I published “Dance In the Rain” on July 11, 2010. The blogs I read this week kept bringing pieces of this work back to memory. I hope the rewrite blesses you!

In the course of life I have learned that almost nothing remains the same. Life is a stormy mistress. If we are honest the stormy days outnumber the calm ones. In life, lightning strikes and lots of times in the same place. Life changes and right quick. Wink and tragedy comes on you unawares. Blink and blessed moments may pass you by. Usually tragedy and blessing are mixed together in fast-moving squalls that roar across the surfaces of our existence; But whether winking or blinking we have to learn to enjoy where we are at and stop waiting for the world to change in our favor.

There is a dish displayed on the bookcase in my office. Written in the center is this saying: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

We’ve all got “stuff” going on. You have money troubles. She may have a close friend who is dying. The guy in the corner over there is going through a divorce. But if we let those things take our focus, we miss opportunity to dance between the rain drops. And it’s the dancing that makes life on this planet tolerable. If you listen close enough the rain offers a good beat; So friend spend some time today dancing in the rain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ujj0FNxl8g&feature=related

Award Sunday: Kreativ Blogger Award

Jesus has granted me another gift in the Kreativ Blogger Award! To His name be the glory! Thank you Paulette http://pbus1.wordpress.com/ for considering me and “Reinventing the We’ll” for this honor.

As I receive this award my requirement is to tell my readers 10 things about myself and then I must nominate 6 other bloggers for the award

What thrills me most is being able to share with you some of the blogs I read for business and fun. So I think I will begin with my six nominations. The nominees are:

1. Cary Graham at  http://thehacknovelist.wordpress.com/

2. Pat at http://pttyann.wordpress.com/ beautiful art work!

3. http://deepwellbridge.wordpress.com/

4.  David at http://desertvoices.wordpress.com/

5. Deb at http://twominutesofgrace.wordpress.com/

6. http://alabyrinth.wordpress.com/ Interesting poetry and anecdotes from Jerusalem

Now 10 things about myself (which I have not told you before)

1. I have three children all studying for the ministry.

2.  I was once forced to dress as a baby at a youth convention, attendance 1100! 

3.  I collect walking sticks.

4. I am currently finishing my first novel, The Remember Man, and will be shopping it out soon.

5. The name Pastor Wrinkles was given to me by my youth group because I youth pastored for 20 years.

6. I transitioned out of youth ministry for the second time during the summer of 2011. Pastor Brad (our new youth pastor) is one of my former students.

7. I am now assistant pastor at Cornerstone Church Winchendon MA responsible for creative arts and pastoral care.

8. Before I became a pastor I ran a restaurant.

9. Before I became a pastor and after I failed as a restaurateur I was a circulation manager for a local news paper.

10. I really! really!! REALLY!!! love Jesus. He is my best friend and has never let me down.

Thanks Again Paulette!

JE

Award Sunday: 7×7 Link Award!

I really have to praise God! He has seen fit to allow me another opportunity for reward. I mentioned a few weeks ago that Deb from Two Minutes of Grace nominated me for the Versatile blogger award. At the same time she nominated me for the 7×7 Link Award and I am just now getting around to publicly receiving it. Thanks so much Deb. To you all you faithful readers out there please check out Deb’s words at http://twominutesofgrace.wordpress.com/. Now onto the requirements of the reward:

Name seven unusual things about yourself:

1. I can quote the entire Green Lantern oath: “In brightest day in darkest night no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might beware my power Green Lantern’s light!”

2. I am a scyfy junky.

3. I am a Pentecostal Christian which I guess makes most people think I am unusual because I believe in the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit including speaking in tongues.

4. I play the flute

5. I play the didgeridoo (badly)

6. I often read 7 or 8 books at a time.

7. I have preached the gospel in three countries so far.

the Second Requirement is that I give you seven of my “best” blogs in various categories:

Most Beautiful: https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2010/07/11/dance-in-the-rain/

Most Helpful:  I did a series on I Corinthians 13 called “Ferocious” https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/ferocious/ This is the first of the posts.

Most Popular: That’s Easy. https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/the-twelve-ways-of-fall/ this one was freshly pressed and got over 1000 hits.

Most Controversial: https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/regret-the-good-school-marm/

Most Surprisingly Successful: Again “The Twelve Ways of Fall” from most popular. Still can’t believe it even got pressed.

Most Underrated: Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts. People are afraid of ’em I think.

Most Pride Worthy:  A series again called “You Choose the View” https://jelillie.wordpress.com/2011/08/13/you-choose-the-view/

Finally I need to nominate seven bloggers for the same award. And the nominees are:

1. Rachel at http://stirringthedeep.com/

2. Angela at http://meetingintheclouds.wordpress.com/

3. Charles at http://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/

4. Melody at http://melodygodfred.com/

5.  Patricia at http://patriciawonders.wordpress.com/

6.  http://todayithink.wordpress.com/

7.  Carrie at http://blog.carriemumford.com/

Thanks again Deb!

 

Pastor Wrinkles: The New Year’s Resolution

New Year’s 2012 is finally upon us. If we were Mayan we would probably be setting our affairs in order and strapping ourselves in for the end of the world; Seeing that we are not, most of us are on this day writing, or at least thinking, of all the great things we resolve to accomplish before Jan. 1, 2013.

    Since I gave a few tips on surviving the last holiday I thought I might just “pastorally” mention a few things about making resolutions for the New Year:

1. Involve God – The Psalmist says “unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” Psalm 127:1.

May I just gently suggest that if you are making the same resolution you have been making for the last twelve years and failing at, maybe it’s time to start asking God if or how you should go about accomplishing it.

2. Write It Down –  and put it somewhere  you will see it all the time. If it’s not important enough to write down it’s probably not resolution material.

3. Break It Down –  To say, “My New Years resolution is to get healthy” is a wonderful thing. Leaving the resolution in that form though almost assures you will fail at your attempt. First you have to define the goal’s end. What does “healthy” look like? Then break it down into monthly goals. Then break it down further into daily goals.

4. Schedule – The first step to reaching goals is to make them manageable and intentional. Get a planner and every week schedule according to your goals. Resolutions need to find their way into your routine.

5. Pray For success Ask God to direct you toward your goal everyday.

6. Don’t Give Up – Set backs are going to come this year. You still live on Earth and the place ain’t perfect. But don’t worry God is and He will give you the victory you need!

7. Remember Pastor Wrinkles is cheering you on! 🙂

 Tell me some of your New Year’s Resolutions!

Heaven Pt. 14

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” …Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”  Ge.22:1,2 10-12 NIV

      Here we see that Heaven is the place from which our trials originate and  it is the place that cancels them out when once they are through with us. Not one thing comes into our lives without God’s stamp of approval (that ought to spark some discussion).

     Most of us look at this story and think how unjust God was to require such a terrible price from his servant, Abraham. We look at Abraham and ask “What kind of man could have said yes to God?”

     I think he must have been a man who understood life and death and Heaven pretty well. He must have had a pretty clear view of the fact that it’s not what goes on down here that really matters. I think he grasped firmly that anything done here can be undone by one word from Him who sits on the throne of eternity. That’s why it says in Hebrews 11 “Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.

     Because Abraham understood how the world worked and what really mattered He was able to stave off the despair we too often feel when faced by the trials of our faith ignited from the throne of Heaven.

     Here’s the thing; If we understand what Abraham did… if we keep the things of Heaven and Earth in their proper perspective, we too can remain free from despair.

Let’s pray:

Lord when fiery trials come into my life help me to remember they are just faith builders. Help me not to get bitter. Cause them to make me better…stronger. Help me to keep Heaven in view. Help me to keep You in view. Help me to remember it will be done away with one day by You. On that day help me hear “Well done good and faithful servant.” A-men

Heaven Pt. 13

“God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.” Ge. 21:17 NIV

Too often we view Heaven as a place so far removed from our experience that no help could ever come from there.

We think, as God is in Heaven watching us “From a distance”( as the old song goes) He too is somehow helpless to reach out and touch us in the place of our infirmities.

I think this is one of the reasons we often try to solve things ourselves first and pray last if at all over a problem.  Yet the idea of Heaven being far away is a misconception.

Jesus preached The kingdom of heaven is near.” Matt 4:7 NIV

For that reason he told His disciples they were to , “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” Matt. 10:18 NIV

God is real and He is real close. He’s listening right now and I have it on good authority He wants to help you out. He’s just waiting for you to realize it and reach out.

Now would be a good time to pray:

God  I know your word says that you are close enough to hear my every cry. So I reach out to you today. Help me in my weakness. Heal me. Get involved in my situations and show me how you want things in my life to work. In Jesus name A-men!

Let me know what happens as a result of praying! 🙂

Heaven Pt. 11

 “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able  to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.” Ge. 15:5

I believe God has made me for a great purpose. I knew it the moment I received Christ as Savior. I believe that every Christian has a transcendent purpose. We are supposed to live lives that are bigger than ourselves. But discovering that purpose is the trick isn’t it? I don’t know about you but God has never come down to me the way He came to Abram.  Yet that doesn’t mean He hasn’t revealed His purpose to me. He has just chosen a different way, a way which involves me intentionally seeking Him out. Here are Pastor J’s seven steps to discovering God’s purpose for your life:

1.  Realize it’s God’s purpose not yours: You don’t get to make the call on what you want to do with the rest of forever. You have surrendered your life that means you have to let God direct.

2. Realize Prayer is your primary means of communication and discovery:  Ask God to reveal His purposes. Spend some time listening. What crosses your mind as you wait in silence before God? Thoughts that go beyond your next meal or the current movie listing might just be from God. Consider them.

3.  Realize you are going to enjoy your God-given purpose: You are equipped with the necessary tools and temperament to accomplish God’s purpose. You will not hate God’s job for you.

4. Realize God will provide you with the opportunity: God knows we often need a signed invitation. So be looking for the open doors of ministry set before you. Try joining; At worst you are going to discover what God’s plan is not by committing short-term to something.

5. Realize you don’t have to totally sell out to the first work that comes along:  Sometimes to find God’s purpose you have to try  things that are not His purpose for the sake of clarification. I taught a Royal Rangers scouting program a couple of seasons. Each season was gloriously fruit-free except for the fact that I learned what not to do.

6. Realize God’s purpose is going to be too big: You can’t do it without God’s help.

7. When you find God’s purpose it will be great and terrible: I love the job God has given me to do. It came complete with a set of difficulties to navigate. Your God-purpose will be the same.

So what step are you on?

Postaday 2011 and What I Have Learned

      Dear readers,

      I am sorry I missed yesterday. I spent 18 hours in bed sleeping! Something got a hold of me and wouldn’t let go. I crashed. Anyway I am back today though I have to admit I am still a little pekid.

     I tend to look at life from the view-point of a student.I believe everything that happens has a purpose, a lesson to teach. When I took up the challenge to post every single day I knew it would teach me something about myself and about the world. I didn’t realize what it would bring out in me.

     Like most things in my life now blogging is on a schedule. A schedule I have been sort of unfaithful too. If I had been faithful to it my post for yesterday and today would have been done well before I succumbed to the plague. I have learned that God is calling me to a new level of discipline.

     I have also learned that I am given to perfectionism. Every time I woke up yesterday my first thought was “I should be blogging! Everyone’s going to hate me!” I know stupid…right? But not getting it right the first time really frosts me. That’s why I give up.

     I was really tempted this morning to give up the challenge and tell you all I was going back to posting three times a week; But then I thought, “No way! I am going to rise above this challenge and learn the lessons God has to teach me through postaday 2011.”

What lessons has God been teaching you?

Gotta Stand Pt. 10

     Today we are going to finish up our study in Ephesians Chapters 4 through 6. Paul writes:

     “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we  are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly placesTherefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”

    We discussed yesterday how living for God was only possible through trusting God. It is God who truly changes our behavior not us. But behavior, important as it is,  is not the fix either. Good behavior doesn’t destroy storms. Only God can do that; But God will flow through our lives more and more as we begin to live right for Him, shutting down storms as He goes.

     As we live for God we have to take one more step if we want to stand through our storms effectively. We have to put on His armor. We have to call forth the supernatural power of God into our lives. We have to ask him for miracles. When the answers of man will not make the grade then the miracles of God are needed. The miracles of divine truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and rhema word are needed in our situations today. They will be needed even more in the days ahead.

So church what are we going to do? We’ve gotta stand!

Gotta Stand Pt. 9

     Yesterday we concluded with a question. “How do we begin to live right for God?”

       Practically: If I’m a thief how do I stop stealing? If I’m angry how do I calm down? If I lie every time I open my big yap how do I quit it?What if I’m a fornicator?A nag? Abusive? Frustrating? Lazy? A slave-driver? In short, how do I go about changing all the negative ca-ca that is in my life?

     Some people would tell you that true change will only come by trying really, really hard. It’s the old Franklin philosophy, “God helps those who help themselves”.

     Others will tell you. “You can’t do anything. It’s all God’s work. Just wait and one day you will magically be ‘poofed’ into goodness.”

    So which is it? Neither answer is completely correct. They are both extremes; And extremes usually hold a smidgen of the truth and a whole lot of hot air.

        Let’s  skip out on the book of Ephesians for a post and turn to another of Paul’s writings, Galatians. The church at Galatia was a church Ben F. would have liked, a real work hard  kind of church. They believed that salvation could only be achieved by accepting Jesus and then DOING  everything the Jewish law required.

     Paul writes, “Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? …. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? ” Gal 3:1-3 NLT

    Paul indicates that not only is forgiveness of sins God’s work, so is making a person perfect. Does that mean we sit around and wait for God to ‘poof’ us? No! Just as God has a work in helping us to live for Him, the Christian has a part to play as well.

    Paul continues to the Galatians, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. ” Gal: 5:16 NLT

    To the church in Rome he writes the same thing another way, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.  Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. ” Romans 12:1,2 NLT

 If we are to stand in victory, our part is to trust God and give ourselves to Him. God’s part is to work the change.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!