jesus, politics, justice, mission & life

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The thing I secretly want to talk about…

Health Care!

I could certainly share all my thoughts on the current health care reform bill that Congress is reviewing, however that would take entirely too long.  You most likely don’t want to hear all my thoughts on health care reform and I don’t think I could organize my thoughts enough to effectively put them in words.  I do enjoy discussing H.R. 3200 (yep, I linked to it twice – look through it) and I do tend to lean towards the liberal standpoint.  However, I could lean left for different reasons that most.

So rather than write out all of my thoughts, I am going to use the thoughts of some other, more educated, brilliant minds.  These are some of the links have shaped my thoughts on the issue:

David Gushee’s use of applying scripture to health care reform – If you read one, read this one.  I put this one first because I love Mr. Gushee’s thoughts.  Read through some of the comments at the bottom.  There is some good points that should not be overlooked, but all in all, I really like Gushee’s thought process.  He really lays out how the federal government can play its part in the Kingdom of God.

Newsweek picks out morals, truths and a bit of a biased opinion – To be honest, there are a few things that Sharon Begley writes that I disagree with.  Furthermore, the article is extremely biased.  That said, Begley does call out the Obama administration for not stepping up and putting a stop to the spread of fear-based lies.  She also points out a few interesting paradoxes.  She has a sassy tone, but if you can get through the article without getting frustrated, it’s a good read.

I am a Brian McClaren junkie – I read what he writes.  He is one of very few “famed” names that I take what they say as truth.  So it makes sense that I would look for his opinion.

Politifact.com – I can’t tell you what a good tool this is.  Thanks to the St. Petersburg times for creating and operating this thing.  These guys are thorough; they check everything.  I linked to the health care section, but the site has it all.  It covers quite a bit so check it out.

The actual reform bill – H.R. 3200.  Obviously, I don’t expect you to read the whole thing, but here it is.

Just as a disclaimer, my full opinions are not in the links posted.  In fact, I disagree with a few things.  If you have any other suggested readings, let me know – I’d love to read it.

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Jon

Well, my best friend is moving to Kazakhstan Sunday.  It’s not permanent, but it is nine months.  So he is gone for the foreseeable future.

Jon has been in my life since my junior year of high school.  In the beginnings of our friendship, the two of us, along with Ryan O’Meilia would play ping pong for two to three hours a day.  We went to Costa Rica together.  We even combined our acts in the Perfect Man competition at Jenks High School to give the best haircut the school has ever seen.  We toilet papered our high school together.  We worked at Shepherds Fold Ranch together.  We have been pulled over a combined 30 times by the police, once at the same time (though driving separate cars) and we dominated the xanga realm together. We failed at building a raft together, we both majored in psychology, we have laid around and watched countless hours of terrible television.  Just last week, the two of us and Robert Gillock even visited IHOP together.

a pretty tart strawberry

a pretty tart strawberry and a cabob

After high school, he went to Evangel University to play football and run track.  Although we didn’t get to walk directly together, we sacrificed time and convenience to stay close.  I’ve gotten to see Jon rise up and commit himself and lead the group of guys he lives with.  I’ve seen kids flock to him at Shepherds Fold – they want to be him.  I love worshipping with him.  He yells, he cries and he battles for the Presence.  Jon is a warrior.  If you have had the opportunity to worship with him, you know he is like a general leading his people into the House of the Lord.  I’d follow him anywhere.

I think the best part about hanging out with Jon is that other problems, even huge problems, seem relatively small when hanging out with him.  He’s not a worrier and he doesn’t dwell on heavy or dark things.  He can make quick decisions and go with them.  I know God respects someone who can hear his voice and act swiftly and thats what Jon does.

So when Jon graduated, and was asked to go to Kazakhstan, he didn’t stall.  He said yes.  And the Lord blessed it.  I’m excited to see when he does over there.

So I’m praying that God blesses Jon in every way.  Give him courage when he needs it.  Bless him with disciples to pour into; give him friends to pour his heart out to.  I hope he finds community to live with and do life with.  I pray for safety, physical and spiritual safety.  Bless him with more of You.  Give him more of yourself, more of your intimacy.  I’m excited to see the things he does in Kazakhstan.  I hope we get to do life together again soon.

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4,5,6,7,8,9

I got an email from a friend today that I wanted to share.  He is a prophet who runs a prophetic equipping school in Hillcrest, South Africa.  I got to meet Mark Visser three years ago and still receive emails from him.  Here is a mass email he sent out this morning.

Hi there

A short note to motivate you and bless you.

The Lord is desiring to speak to us. Scripture says that God has continually got thoughts for you at any given moment. Actually at any given second, God has many thoughts for you. Psalm 139: 17,18 reads the thoughts of God for you are more than all grains of sand.  Now calculate the amount of grains of sand and compare them to the seconds that you have lived.  OK we know that this task is not possible – but you can see that at any given second of any day, God has many, many thoughts for you.

What is the Now Word (Kiros Word). The Word of God at this point in time.  At this second, this minute, this hour, this day, this week, this month and this year what is God saying to you.

What about at 5 minutes and 6 seconds  after 4 A.M. on the 7th of August  this year.  What will be the Kiros Word (Now Word)  of God at 4:05:06 on the 7th day of the 8th month, 2009.

Bless you,

Mark Visser

I really like numbers.  So this 4,5,6,7,8,9 thing is good.  I hope you experience the Lord’s thoughts and heart today.


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Rest v. Anxiety

This post could also have been titled Peace v. Stress, Harmony v. Despair, or Love v. Fear.

Lately, I’ve been in a tough place where I’ve had to make decisions that I don’t really feel like making.  I don’t have a specific equation for making decisions.  I have friends who can make a list of the pro’s and con’s.  Others can just choose in the moment and go with it.  I’m not talking about small decisions like movie plans or what to eat for dinner.  These are life-altering decisions, like where to live, where to work, what to be involved in, etc.

I’ve been on overload the past month or so with tough (and heavy) decisions.  Though it’s pretty painful and unsettling at times, I’m learning how I make decisions.  Sometimes decisions are simple.  I ask the Holy Spirit a question and he leans me a certain way.  Most of the time though, I think God wants to lead me through some stuff.  The answer usually isn’t even the point with Him.  Or maybe it is, but he just has to show me a few things on the way there.  I don’t know.  It doesn’t matter.  But though God is certainly not a God of confusion, he does lead me through some fog.  I intentionally used the word “lead” in the past sentence.

So here is what I’ve discovered: When I begin to think of “solutions” or “answers” on my timing, things like anxiety, stress and or even just a sense of being overwhelmed are manifested.  The problems become heavier than they really are and the enemy comes in and spreads lies.  I hear things like “This problem will never be solved,” “God won’t speak to you on this issue” or “You don’t have what it takes to make this decision.”

But when I allow the Holy Spirit to bring things up, God begins processing things with me.  And God’s ways are peaceful and light.  When He comes, he brings truth.  That doesn’t mean he brings the right answer, but he does speak truth about who He is and who I am in Him.  I’ve come to enjoy processing tough things with God.  The Father knows how to walk me through stuff so that I don’t have a panic attack or freak out.  He keeps me calm, he lets me process and think out of rest.

I’ve heard great friends tell me to do everything out of rest.  I have told people that before.  And though I’ve understood that phrase to an extent, God is taking me deeper into what that those words mean.  Process things out of rest.  Make hard decisions out of rest.  I’m having to allow God to bring things up in His timing.

On a completely different note, I’m listening to, and soaking, to this:  Jonathan David Helser - Walk Through The Walls

And it’s awesome.

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