Wednesday, October 20, 2004


picked up Chris Tomlin's new CD, Arriving, tonight while Ronni, Colin, and I were out on our "date night." Had to have it after singing the first song, "Indescribable", at Cloud 9 this weekend.

There was a moment while we were worshipping on Saturday night when it occurred to me that very possibly, heaven might be even better than this. 600+ people, most of them teenagers, were worshipping, hands raised, jumping up and down, many with tears on their faces, voices straining from singing so loud for so long. One could almost sense saints long passed on into glory and angels and heavenly creatures joinging in the praise. The band seemed to fade into the background in my mind's eye, and Jesus himself was on stage, lit up in a bright spotlight that strangely and naturally emanated from him. I thought of the pastors and youth leaders and chaperones and churches that had sacrificed over the years to make Cloud 9 happen, and began to understand in a new way what Paul meant when he spoke of the people he preached the gospel to as an "offering acceptable to God". Jesus takes such delight from the worship of his kids, and there must be few greater joys than laboring toward and seeing an increase of praise in the hearts of those he loves.

entirely unrelated note: played one on one against a guy named Paul at the Rec center today. Probably about 20, although I'm a terrible judge of age. Younger than I am by a long shot, and in much better shape, that much for sure. Taller and quicker than me too. Dunked effortlessly (though, thankfully, not over me). Beat me 15-3 the first game. Huffing and puffing, I congratulated him, encouraged him about the excellence of his game and settled in to see if I am in fact so far over the hill that my future holds nothing but continued and increasing baskeball humiliation. Thankful to say that the scores of the next two games were more respectable, 15-5, and 15-7. In my favor. Praise God for insignificant but no less sweet joys.

BoSox just made it into the World Series, wow. Puts my comeback in perspective, I suppose...

just noticed all the capital letters. too tired to change them all for stylistic reasons. what is that all about, anyway? sort of pretentious in a trying too hard not to be pretentious way, now that I think about it...

Thursday, October 7, 2004


should have an interesting day tomorrow.

the milan chamber of commerce invited me to offer an "invocation" before their 8:00 a.m. meeting. i'm never really sure what the expectation is, as i imagine chamber members could be from any number of religious or irreligious persuasions. tiptoeing lightly and generically (theologically speaking) isn't really within my job description as a student of Jesus, nor really within my mental abilities at 8 a.m. i'm thinking about asking Jesus to exercise his influence on the business leader's hearts so that their talents and power would be used as an instrument of blessing for the people of Milan, especially the poor. maybe i'll just thank Jesus for the gift of work and the freedom to create and produce, and invite him to impart his creativity, wisdom, and compassion to the group. hmmm. don't think the book of common prayer has one for this sort of thing, does it? drop a comment if you've got any ideas...i'll probably have the chance to do this a few more times, God willing.

a friend from the ann arbor church invited me to speak to her middle school about my experiences in belfast after high school, the fun that comes from taking risks, the surprises God has in store when we let him lead, etc. should be a blast. love middle school students. they love you or tune you right polite nodding. been a while since i've addressed a group of them, though. kind of nervous. regardless of how it all goes, i know i'll have a lot to laugh about when all is said and done.

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Mayor Diaz

had coffee with the mayor of Milan today, Owen Diaz. one of only two U.S. mayors originally born in the Phillippines (the other is mayor of Seattle, i believe).

found it very encouraging to talk with him. Jesus really seems to be paving the way for an infusion of his life and love in this community.

remarkable man. overcame a lot of adversity to be where he is today. really full of joy, humble, and genuinely loves the people of Milan. everytime he saw someone coming in or going out of the coffee shop, he sprung to the door to hold it open. we sat near a former "first lady" of Milan, and he sincerely asked for her critique of his mayoring: "how can I do better?"

loves Jesus wholeheartedly, too. he's donating his mayoral salary to bless different groups of people in the community, in cooperation with various churches. organized a concert for disabled citizens. put on a dinner for seniors. wants to put on an event for the youth.

all in all, found it very encouraging to talk with him. Jesus really seems to be paving the way for an infusion of His life and love in this community.