Friday, June 1, 2018

the blue book is now available on amazon


Exciting News!  The Blue Book is now available on Amazon!  And not only that, but it also has a bunch of new content!  I've been working for the past year or so to write an opening reflection for each chapter and I'm really excited about the end result.  I hope you will be too.  So please spread the word.  Tell your friends that the strange blue devotional book that has always been so hard to find, is hard to find no more.

*Update: Thanks for the great response!  Glad to see the book still seems to be helpful to so many in making space to hear God's voice and know of his great affection.  Since the book has been released on Amazon I do, however, find that I miss the contact with many of you.  I miss hearing the stories of how God has used the book in your life or ministry.  So, if you have the time, I would love it if you would just leave your comments here, or drop by Amazon and give a review.  And, as always, feel free to email me with your Blue Book story if you'd like.  I love hearing them. Blessings, Jim



Thursday, May 17, 2018

write me

O God
every day
and in every moment
you are writing
a beautiful story

give me the grace
and the patience
to let that story unfold
and not try to force
or manipulate it

help me
to not get in the way
and to not get in a hurry
but to wait on you

for only you
can tell me
my true place
in your grand design

my story is yours
O God
write me


Saturday, May 5, 2018

give

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge your harvest of righteousness.  You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  (2 Corinthians 9:10-11)

Giving is a little bit tricky.  Because, in reality, we can only give what we have been given.  If the sower is not given the seed in the first place, then he has nothing of value to sow in the fields (and the lives) to which he has been given.  Luckily, we are given the promise that if we are open and attentive to receiving it, there is One who is able and willing to supply, and even increase, this seed.

The problem is that, oftentimes, we try so hard to give that which we do not possess.  And when we do this, abundance simply will not happen.  We cannot produce abundance (an enlarged harvest of righteousness) on our own, no matter how hard we try.  We can only give--fully and freely--that which we have been given.  So it seems kind of important that we know exactly what that is.  For this seed wasn't given to us to hoard for ourselves, but to be scattered abroad in the fields of this world, that it might produce a harvest of righteousness.

O Lord, help me to learn to give fully and freely that which I have to give, and to stop trying so hard to give that which I don't.  

Saturday, April 28, 2018

transforming community

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. (Psalm 133:1-3, NIV)

     
When God’s people live together in true community there is a qualitative difference.  It is good and pleasant.  It is like precious oil poured on the head—fragrant, soothing, and healing.  It is like the dew of Hermon falling on Mount Zion—renewing, restoring, and life-giving.  It is the place where God’s blessing is poured out, and where life, as he intended it to be, is experienced first-hand. 
     
True community reverses the effects of the fall.  It is where we are able to go from “I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid” (Gen. 3:10) back to being “naked and unashamed.” (Gen. 2:25)  It is the place where we are able to recapture the intent of God’s “very good” creation.  Thus, it is no accident when King David—in Psalm 133:1—uses the same word (towb) to describe what happens when God’s people live together in unity that is used to describe the goodness of his original creation. (Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31)  God’s desire for us is union, not isolation.  Union both with himself and with each other.
     
Unfortunately the leap from fear to love is a pretty big one.  Few seem willing to make it.  It is hard for us to muster the courage to come out of hiding, stop covering, and begin to relate to one another in loving vulnerability.  Paul put it so well in Romans 8:15 when he says, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.”  If we ever want to recapture the life of deep, true community that God desires for us—and that we desire for ourselves—we must choose to live in love, not in fear.  “For there is no fear in love.  But perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)
    
So let us come out of hiding.  Let us truly show up and be fully present with each other.  Let us stop trying to fix and judge each other, and simply be with each other and listen to each other in love.  Let us open up, rather than covering up.  Maybe then we will start to live the life God really desires for us to live.  And it will be like precious oil.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

stop

Stop!
Stop thinking it's all up to you.
Stop acting like it all depends on you.
Stop running around trying to manage and control everything.
Stop carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.
Stop eating the bread of anxious toil.
Just stop!
Be still and know that I am God.




Stop us, O God, when we go running off in a-million-and-one directions instead of being still and quiet and allowing your voice to speak to us and direct us.  For when we do not stop, look, and listen, there’s a good chance we are following ourselves rather than following you.  Amen.

Friday, April 20, 2018

131

o lord
may my heart
never become
too proud
may my eyes
never be raised
too high

do not let me get
too full of myself
or take myself
too seriously

help me to stop
trying to be
such a big deal
but instead be
totally content
being a little deal
so that you
may be big

for only then
will my soul
be at rest
only then
will my heart
be still and quiet
only then
will i be able
to find myself
content in your
loving embrace
and out my hope
in you
instead of me

Thursday, April 19, 2018

must

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. ~Luke 9:23


There is a must in the life of faith that is not fraught with guilt, not stuffed with ought and should. Instead, it is born out of affection and delight.  It is get to rather than have to.  It is pull rather than push.  It is not begrudging and coercive and forced, but a genuine expression of a heart that has been captured by love, the fruit of intimate union.  Thus, it cannot be quashed, contained, or subdued, but flows from our inner being like a river toward the sea.  It propels us into life with energy and vitality that mere duty cannot provide.  It does not beat us down or wear us out, but, by its very nature, reorders, renews, and transforms.

Somehow we must learn how to move from one must to the other.  The state of our lives, and our ministries, depend on it.  For our must will incarnate itself in one form or another.  It can take the shape of joy and peace and gratitude, or it can take the form of gloom and sadness and despair.  Which do you think Jesus would prefer? 

O Lord Jesus, help us live our lives like you did, by the must of love.