Thursday, May 31, 2007


anyone familiar with the word halcyon? originally comes from classical mythology about a kingfisher (a kind of bird I'm most familiar with from Gerard Manly Hopkins poem "When Kingfishers Catch Fire") that had the power to calm stormy seas.

since sunday, I've been trying to think of the right word to describe the impact of our small group's surprise party. halcyon isn't the right word, exactly, but it gets to some truth of the impact. its meaning ranges from calm, peaceful, tranquil to rich, wealthy, prosperous to happy, joyful, carefree (according to, at least). maybe by the end of this post I'll stumble on the right word.

Ronni and I, and the kids, showed up at Phil and Amy's house Sunday after church expecting to have lunch with them and Rich and Andrea. "you've got to see what we did in the basement," Amy enthused, once we'd come in. we followed, curious, wondering what new addition (a new home theater? toys or furniture for the kids in the small group? a mural? could've been anything…) we'd find. sitting on the floor, like kindergarteners at snack time, were Ross and Angela and Mark and Marit, two couples from our small group. "surprise!" they announced. whatever for? we thought to ourselves. turned out, a surprise party was on, to thank us for serving as small group leaders, for our service to the church, for just generally being us. crazy. we had no idea. none at all. still wondering if it really happened – that's how overwhelmingly cool it was.

we went back upstairs, and were joined by Robert and Dirsa, Jon and Cathy, Joe and Angela, and Paula. wow. after everyone ate together, we gathered in the living room. one by one, each person shared things they were thankful about in regards to Ronni and me. quality stuff, deep, touching, powerful, life-giving, rich and true. the kind of stuff you always hope for but could never know unless someone actually put it in words and looked you in the eye and said it. the kind of stuff that makes you a little uncomfortable to hear, but that you wouldn't trade for the world. no holds barred encouragement. tons of laughter, too. and the laying on of hands in prayer. it was, all together at once, one of the most humbling and most uplifting experiences of my life.

elevation, that's the word. in the u2 sense of the word. like your soul is elevated, and wow that feels good, but you realize that what's all that, that what's got it truly going on, is the force doing the elevating. love. encouraging community. the Holy Spirit. what happened on sunday is what happens when I'm around God, not to put too fine a point on it. Jesus was present in an unexpected but completely welcome way through our small group.

Ronni and I looked at each other in our kitchen later that day, spirits agape. wow, we laughed. thanks, friends.


Friday, May 25, 2007

verve and verse

a long story to get to the title…

when Ronni and I were engaged a baker's dozen years ago, we started attending our first small group. it met in the living room of my parents' house, and quickly became a place filled with friendships and worship. two of our longest lasting "couple" friendships have their origins in that small group, in fact. we met Don Bromley there for the first time; he eventually married Julie, and they have been awesome friends for years (Don is the associate pastor at the Ann Arbor Vineyard Church). Doug Geverdt led the worship on his acoustic guitar (perhaps the best small group worship leader, ever, bar none, in the history of small group worship – nothing flashy, everything glorious), and his wife Gretchen (maybe one of the most encouraging people one could ever meet – it's a close race between her and my uncle Kit and Amy Lozen) became fast friends of ours as well. which was really cool to have friends that weren't just my friends, or just Ronni's friends, but our friends.

eventually D. and G. moved to the DC area when D got a job at the census bureau. when we first visited them in Annapolis (which we try to do every couple of years, at least), they introduced us to some new friends of theirs, Steve and Chaundra. John Lennon wrote "instant karma", right? this was like instant friendship. anyway, our paths have crossed on several occasions since, and it's been sweet to see what Jesus has been doing in their lives. we even got to hang out with them and eat some strange and delicious Indian food with S and C in Anaheim at the Vineyard Leaders' Conference a couple of weeks ago.

all that to say, I just found out Steve has a blog. verve and verse it's called. a mixture of poetry and lively blogging. we all need more poetry, or at least I do. so check it out, if you have the hankering. and if you don't, go find some hankering. we all need more hankering, too.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

how i feel now that the blog is working again

click below to see it more clearly...


met with the community relations board at the Milan federal correctional institution early this morning. about 1450 inmates at the prison currently, and 330 employees. I have high regard for the new warden at the prison; compassionate, smart, level-headed, happy. seems to be the case for everyone on the staff I've met there, come to think of it. heard from the chaplain about some community service projects some of the inmates are involved in. in addition to repairing and giving away bicycles, they are also knitting blankets, booties, and hats for stillborn infants to wear for their funerals. the kinds of things that need to be done that might never cross one's mind, eh? wonder if there is some kind of outreach opportunity for the church there?

a number of people from the church work at the prison, one of whom I bumped into in the parking lot. she's really excited about a new small group at the church she's helping get started up this summer. I'm excited as well – it's a group for people in recovery from addictions of various sorts (like alcohol, for example). been praying for that for some time now. looks like the Father's really up to something in that area. sweet.

yesterday I got to meet with a young pastor who's going to be working with his dad (a senior pastor of a church in a nearby town) to help lead a church in being an outward focused church. very inspiring and humbling at the same time. got to offer him some encouragement, pass on a couple of books, and pray with him. we ate together at Big Boy, and got to pray for both our server and our busboy. felt a little embarrassed in that we asked our server if there was anything we could pray for her about, she shared something with us to pray for, and then when I asked her how to pronounce her name (it was an unfamiliar kind of name to me), she said she knew me from the church. It dawned on me that I'd seen her in church recently, but hadn't recognized her in the different context. Ah well, a little embarrassment is probably good for the soul, from time to time.

technical difficulties solved!

perhaps you've noticed the lack of entries since September, and scarcity before that. not sure what the difficulty was, but the end result was that posting took so much technical wrangling that I simply stopped blogging. blogger made some changes to its software, and maybe our server did too, but whatever the case, it seems like posting is now as simple as opening up a word document and hitting publish. let's see; we'll know in a second. here goes; reentry to the blogosphere to commence in 3…2…1…