Monday, August 18, 2008

MEIN HERTZ BRENNT

( I had all these cool photos I was going to post with this, but couldn't figure out how to make it work)

Live Journal Discoveries From the Past Week:

I thought I caught the bubonic plague today, but it was just a sunburn and an overwhelming sense of being lost in reality.

I found some copies of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency at the used bookstore. I might send them to Andrea. I like to read about Africa, and these books, if you haven’t had the opportunity to read them are so amusing and sad and revealing. We Americans should be more in touch what goes on around the world. We are egocentric and that’s usually what gets us in trouble. I also found some Nicholas Sparks books I might send to Mariah, because the Notebook and Walk to Remember made both of us cry. Wait did I just say that? You didn’t hear me say that.

I’m drinking a medium Grasshopper Mocha, just because my frequent coffee addict punch card was full and needed to be used on something more expensive than usual.

Sometimes I feel loved. Like the other day, I was driving my car…on a road…and I looked up to realize I was following some secret admirers. Well they weren’t so secret about it, since they were advertising their great love me on their rear windshield.

I helped cut some very tall grass and pull some overgrown weeds at this older man’s house today. His neighbors complained to the city that he was creating a haven for west nile virus infected mosquitoes. So a group of us from my church hauled tractors, mowers, and weed eaters over to his “field”, and spent a few hours eradicating.

Right now, on my ipod, the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus is singing these lines: “a pebble in the water makes a ripple effect,
every action in this world will bear a consequence, if you wade around forever you will surely drown…I see what's going down…Face down in the dirt she says, this doesn't hurt she says I finally had enough.” I’m passionate about the words in this song. I watched an independent Swedish/Russian film the other day. I didn’t understand the language very well…wel
l not at all, but the film was so powerful, it exposed the horrors and tragedy of the modern slave industry, and showed how girls from poverty stricken place in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Asia, are lured into finding work in well-to do western society. Once they arrive in the new country, they are immediately enslaved and used for prostitution and the sex industry. It made me so angry. Angry at the abuse they endure. Angry at the parents and families that let them leave. Angry at the patrons of these businesses or pimps. I know plenty of Soldiers or Sailors who, while on leave overseas, will ignorantly contribute to the abuse of these poor women and girls. Everything in my wants to fight to protect hurting people. Why don’t I do it then? I have a friend who doesn’t know what to do with her life, so she is heading to South East Asia in September to teach English. But her heart’s desire is to help rescue and protect girls who are caught up in this debauchery. I pray the Lord will bless her and provide for her and fuel her zeal for good.



Last weekend I spent some time with God. I mean I try to spend time with God all day long, but I sometimes get distracted. So I visited the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, and asked God to speak to me change me more. When I arrived at the IHOP mission base, I immediately felt this burden lifting from my shoulders and something I can only describe as the presence of God.


Many amazing and timely things happened during those days. In fact, I didn’t understand why I went at first. I was actually mad at God, because all of my weekend plans had failed and I felt stuck in Kansas for another lonely weekend. But the Lord told me to be quiet and be still. SHUT UP ROB! Then he said, GO TO KANSAS CITY. And then I realized his Purpose. I found myself consumed in worshiping God with a hundred other people from all around the world at 3 AM on Saturday, and I was not tired. Here are some thoughts I wrote down in my journal during that period of time:

- I am a whore. Derek Webb sings about this in his Wedding Dress song. “I am a whore, I must confess. I put you on like a wedding dress.” I identify with that song completely. God calls us not to lift our souls to another. We make all these promises and commitments to God, and then fail. And feel bad about it. And ask God to forgive us. And he welcomes us back. These are the times when with think that Grace is cheap. But, though it was free for us, it wasn’t cheap for God, because as Bonhoeffer writes, it cost God his Son. I read through HOSEA, and the prophet Hosea married a prostitute, who was married to many men and kept leaving him. He kept taking her back. That’s why I feel like a whore.

- Be SALT, I am commanded. Sometimes I feel like my salt has lost its saltiness. So what is it then?

- Have mercy Lord, according to your unfailing love.

- Yaweh is my KING, ruling and reigning over me.

- Lord thank you for beautiful voices.

- We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. That’s from Colossians 1:9. I’ve been praying that over my daughters for a while now.

- God will bring about JUSTICE for his chosen who cry out to him day and night (Luke 18:7-8)

- I think most people don’t realize what they are really longing for, and therefore, search the world for things to try to fill the empty holes in their souls. Eventually when we fail to find satisfaction, we enter a place of brokenness, and then have a choice, to let God fill us and heal us, or to live in bitterness and despair.

- Lord, I want to love as you love.

- I think I’ve gotten to the point in my life where SHOCK doesn’t surprise me anymore. Isn’t that some kind of oxymoron?

- You are worthy, our Lord and God to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things and by your will they were created and have their being (Revelation 2:4)

- Jealousy is a husband’s FURY!!

- I’m grasping how wide, how deep, how long, and how high the love of God really is.

- Lord, change my occasional flirtations glance to a steady and longing gaze!

Here is a first look at a song I started to write in KC. I have developed a melody already, but like all my songs, will collect dust until I am partnered with someone more musically inclined than me. I play it in the key of Em.

What would it be, Lord

That you have for me?

I’m just broken man (who is)

Lost at sea

I have nothing to offer you

On my own

I have no power

To change the road I’m walking on

I can’t seem to figure out

What I’m doing here

Look, I’m only a child

And full of anguish and fear

But you call me

Call me

Back to you…

And now you send me

Where you want me to go

You are the Spirit

Holy Fire

Release this anointing over me (3x).

Last night my friend, Dan, counseled me on the phone while I was parked at a Shell gas station. It was timely and good to hear a friendly voice in the wilderness. I have been mulling over things, and don’t quite no where to go. My thoughts, emotions, heart, longings, and passions are all jumbled and tangled together. They are not neat and orderly.


Yesterday in my alone time I drove the Outback through the unpaved county roads of the Kansas flinthills kicking up dust and testing the limits of the All-Wheel Drive. I happened upon this hidden swimming hole, Pillsbury Crossing, that literally blocked the road way. The road crossed this creek where the depth was about 18 inches. People had parked their trucks in the creek, and were drinking beer and swimming in the deeper parts near a waterfall. I never thought I would see this in Kansas.

You are only my friend if I can pinch you


Its great that all my friends are on the internet now. When I was in Germany, after I destroyed my marriage, and then got back up on my feet, I had a huge circle of friends and we would get together 5-6 days a week! Crazy lifestyle. But now I spend all my free time down at the Blue Stem drinking coffee and talking to all my friends: On Line! What a loser.

Actually some of the Baristas and Baristos have gotten to know me, and I'm just starting to connect with some folks from the church community I've been worshiping with. Sometimes its hard for military folks to connect when they move so much. They often just stay on base and drink and that’s their community; even the families that live on base. I've never been one to do that, but when I came to Kansas it was only supposed to be for 60 days, and nowadays I have so much emotional baggage, that I never know what or how to share with people if it bubbles out of me.

But anyway, NO I'm not going to stay in the barracks. I refuse! Last night, I went to a Bible Study (Ray Vanderlaan, history stuff), and then those guys took me out to dinner! Ye-ah! Then I talked on the phone with a friend from El Paso who is going through a rough time. Then I went back to the barracks and set up a NETFLIX account, so that I could watch feature films on-line, which will only last until I deploy, because I won't have high-speed internet in Afghanistan or wherever I go. I watched a really great Israeli movie about Bedouins and their interaction with modern Arab and Jewish society. I like foreign films.

Then I slept in until 0930, and YES it was peacefully quiet with NO fluorescent lights flicking on at 0500!

I washed clothes, read ACTS, ate brunch at the chow hall, and then drove downtown to find gummi bears and authentic German Haribo candy for Andrea. I was unsuccessful. I found regular gummi bears, but not the cool stuff from Europe. Go figure, I'm in Kansas. So, I asked a friend in Germany to buy some from the Kaufmarkt and have his little girls write a card to my daughter Andrea and mail the stuff to her. That will be fun.

I did buy some other knickknacks like a Hannah Montana back to school stationery set, a purple K-State T-shirt for my cheerleading daughter, some chocolate, and a few other things, and now I sit at the Blue Stem drinking an IRISH COFFEE (it’s a long weekend) and packaging all this stuff up. I'm also sending a package of chocolate to a chocoholic friend in Iraq. Usually when the chocolate arrives, it has to be refrigerated for 24 hours to regain shape. So I've turned the Blue Stem into my office. I hope they don't mind.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Rhythmless

Some old crumpled song sheets...I found. Just click on the title link or head to this URL:
http://www.restintheshadow.com/rhythmless

Be sure to check out Rhythmless II as well.

Some of Last Year's Thoughts on Coffee

I don't have a caffeine addiction, but for some strange reason I do get headaches after a few days without the java infusion

September 12, 2007.

In the past several months I have had the joy of sipping on espresso in both Austria and Switzerland with a great group of friends. It was the friendship that made the moment, but the coffee beans simply infused that friendship with great memories.

Today I submitted an application for a managerial or executive position with Caribou coffee. I don't know if any of this will come to fruition, but it would be just as fun to work behind the counter and serve up some great lattes.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

July16 2007.

I have consumed a lot of the espresso drug in recent weeks while exploring Alaska's oil fields, Mount McKinley, and my Mom's house. Fairbanks, AK claims the worlds greatest number of drive-thru espresso stands per capita in the world. For a population of about 75, 000 souls (and a few moose), there is an espresso stand on nearly every main street or thoroughfare, and their prices are competitive with Starbucks (which by the way, has not made inroads in this interior city, except for brands sold at the supermarket and bookstore). But what does all of this have to do with the price of tea in China? Nothing. All of this coffee has not really helped me reflect on the status of my life and the chaos that surrounds it. I have been working pretty hard and staying very busy, and have not had much time for true reflection and resting in God's shadow. A 36 hour round-trip drive on dirt roads to Prudhoe Bay on the Artic Ocean should have given me time for thought, but the unimproved roads jostled my brain and body so much that I developed ADHD (and the coffee didn't help).

June 2, 2007.

Well, its June already. Four days until the anniversary of D-Day. Drove through the Normandy coast recently. Walked the beaches where countless thousands of patriots and volunteers sacrificed their lives, for the freedom of a people and a continent that hardly remembers, it seems.

What would the world be like if we all learn to sacrifice for others at that level. Expecting nothing in return.

May 20th-

AMBITION

Its good to have a concept for your future. You realize your options, you think about them, and you walk through them. But its best to give them to God. We have much more "control" over our future than our past. That is a truth.

I know that it is important that we surrender our lives to God. But I don't think he just wants us to sit back for the ride. As Christians we are to be proactive. I just reread II Chronicles, just to examine the life of David (sinful choices and consequences) and then see how his era passed into the era of Solomon. None of those guys just sat back. They made decisions, sometime really poor decisions, but they made them.

I have enjoyed reading a book called Soul Cravings by Erwin McManus recently. McManus is part of a real life church group that meets in a bar in Los Angeles. He has interesting perspectives on life. But in the book he talks abouts our future. He talks about our dreams. The worst part about dreams is waking up! He doesn't buy into "if you dream, it will happen", but he subscribes to Godly ambition. God places in us a drive to accomplish something. We all have a need to progress. To lack ambition is to become complacent. To lose our passion is to become apathetic. The future doesn't happen by accident; it happens through engagement.

I am fully committed to being engaged during the rest of my life. I have some hangups now. I can't see around a lot of my roadblocks, but I am not sitting back anymore.

I used to be caught up in this "glamorous" and mysterious career. But I have let go of that. I told one friend I would be happy being a Barrista at Starbucks, as long as I could really live (but she told me you had to be a woman or gay to be a Barrista).

May 12, 2007.

So, today is my youngest daughter's 11th Birthday. That amazes me. This miracle of life. I am an absentee Dad, I pondered over my Saturday morning cup of coffee.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Over My Shoulder


There is no fear in Love. Perfect love drives out all fear. 1John4:18

(extract notes from various emails I have sent…)

Funniest line I heard in a FDNY (Fire Department of New York) themed Hollywood blockbuster I recently watched. Two of the firefighters were flirting with some young ladies at the grocery store.

So you guys usually pick up girls in the supermarket for fun?

No, I usually just throw them over my shoulder and carry them down the stairs!!!