Sunday, June 22, 2008

A thanksgiving for the wilderness

I am not what I ought to be.
I am not what I wish to be.
I am not even what I hope to be.
But by the cross of Christ,
I am not what I was.

-- John Newton


Son of God, if thy free grace

Son of God, if thy free grace

Words: Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
Tune: Gersau

Son of God, if thy free grace
Again has raised me up,
Called me still to seek thy face,
And given me back my hope:
Still thy timely help afford,
And all thy loving-kindness show:
Keep me, keep me, gracious Lord,
And never let me go!

By me, O my Saviour, stand
In sore temptation's hour;
Save me with thine outstretched hand,
And show forth all thy power;
O be mindful of thy word,
Thy all-sufficient grace bestow:
Keep me, keep me, gracious Lord,
And never let me go!

Give me, Lord, a holy fear,
And fix it in my heart,
That I may from evil near
With timely care depart;
Sin be more than hell abhorred;
Till thou destroy the tyrant foe,
Keep me, keep me, gracious Lord,
And never let me go!

Never let me leave thy breast,
From thee, my Saviour, stray;
Thou art my support and rest,
My true and living way;
My exceeding great reward,
In heav'n above and earth below:
Keep me, keep me, gracious Lord,
And never let me go!


The hands of Jesus were bound

My Jesus is everything

by Anne Graham Lotz

The hands of Jesus were bound.
The hands of the Son of God.

The hands of the Creator!

Hands that had lifted in authority and calmed the storm at sea.

Hands that had gathered little children on His knee.

Hands that had smeared mud on the blind beggar's eyes

and given him sight.

Hands that had touched the leper and cleansed him.

Hands that had broken the fish and the bread and fed five thousand people.

Hands that had hung the worlds in space.

Hands that had formed Adam from the dust of the ground.

Hands that had formed the very men who were now binding Him.

Jesus was the center of His Father's will, yet He was bound.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A nice piece of pi

A crop circle near Wroughton, Wiltshire, England cropped up in early June... as an abstract representation of pi, the number at the heart of Euclidean geometry. Shades of Sagan's Contact! these alien cropbusters sure are busy! artful kind of folks, though, no? and now mathematical too! :-) Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A note on a worthy cause

A family in need

Hello Friends!

Perhaps you heard of the family in Tennessee, where the oldest son shot his father, a couple months ago. It was a terrible situation, straight out of Dostoevsky, where the son acted under great psychological duress in order to save the family from further pain. There are very complicated and layered aspects to this story, obviously, but suffice to say that it is a real need. Thankfully, several friends have connected in order to give the family a new start. Details here: Help This Family Now.

James P. Crocker, President & CEO of Waterblasting Technologies, is leading an effort renovate their house. It is a place with a lot of bad memories and a lot of physical needs -- renovating and restoring it will give the wife and kids a new start to life. In the words of Inigo Montoya: "This is a noble cause, sir!" :-)

Please consider making a donation to help this family, ok?

God bless you all!


p.s. here's a letter from James Crocker. James and his wife Lynette are really motivated, spearheading this effort in TN from here in South Florida, organizing 60 professional volunteers, plus others, hoping to complete the project in six days.

James writes:

Dear Friends,

Your help is truly needed. We are trying to make a radical difference in the lives of a family in crisis and you can help. Many of you knew or remember Tommy Schankweiler from your school days. You have also heard about the recent death of Tommy. There is so much more that you haven't heard and perhaps there is no need to burden yourself with it. However, the family has been through untold horrors over the last several years. Even if you didn't know them you can still help. In many ways they feel like strangers to me as well. I had only talked to Tommy twice in twenty years. My wife Lynette and I have felt like someone should step forward and organize a broad effort to facilitate a “Fresh Start” for this unfortunate family. We further contemplated the “if not us, Who? “ question. Upon taking stock of our blessings we felt like we should make the effort. So, we wasted no time getting to work. Because so much of their less than pleasant experiences happened within the four walls of their house, and because it needed so much work as well, we thought that a complete overhaul of the home would serve many, many purposes. It would accomplish something badly needed for a start plus it would create a venue for a lot of people to express their love and support for the family demonstrating the love of Christ to them and connecting in a very tangible way. It furthermore would recreate their surroundings making bad memories fade and the creation of new memories a more likely objective. It will serve to bolster the self esteem and moral of the children. I could go on and on but I shall not take your time. Suffice it to say that we made the decision with others to launch a complete remodeling and even adding a small addition to their home in order to achieve the objectives I have outlined. For many other reasons, we also decided that the project would be completed start to finish in just 6 days. This complicates the process immensely, but the positives of doing so far outweigh the added effort. We knew from the start that we could not do this alone and soon realized that a lot of people were just waiting in the wings to help.

Since then we have been on an adventure of a lifetime. Recruiting and organizing 75 Volunteers in a town over 800 miles away is both exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. We also have had the daunting task of trying to raise $ 75,000 for the project. What I have discovered well into my very first attempt at fundraising is that people seem to have more time than money these days. So, whereas we have had over 60 people volunteer so far and I am feeling very good about being able to complete our objectives on that end, we are running seriously behind in our fundraising. With only two weeks left till we start the project, we have raised $ 36,000. This leaves us a rather frightening deficit of $ 39,000. So my very frugal better half and I have been hard at work trimming anywhere we can and we have cut a full $ 10,000 out of the project... Lynette is a pro at finding items on sale and other opportunities to buy items for less. I have been getting quotes for materials through Home Depot and another local lumber yard ensuring that we are getting the very best deals possible. So then, we have trimmed that deficit down to $ 25,201.

Where does that leave us? Well, we have over 60 committed professionals both local and from out of town, ready to tackle this work and complete the entire project from June 30th to July 5th. In fact, some of the names of our Volunteers you will recognize immediately. However, without the cash to purchase the materials, this is an impossible goal. However, I am convinced that God has blessed a number of you out there to the point that your storehouses are nearly overflowing. To keep the levees from breaking you had better bleed a little cash off the top in order to avert disaster. I am sure that you, like me, are overrun with request from here thither and yon assuring you that their particular ministry or project is truly the one that God Himself would have you support. I make no such claims. I only want you to know that should you choose to invest with me, I can tell you that I have put forth a good deal of money and hundreds of hours as well and will make sure that every dollar you give goes directly to the point of need. It is very difficult and even kind of weird for me to be asking for your help. Hopefully it will be my first and last time to do so. I would not be asking for it if I didn't truly need it and didn't feel this was such a worthy cause.

If you want to know more about the project, go online to and take a look around the website. There you can see the basic layout of the remodel project, pictures of the family, you can see how much we have raised as well as give via credit card (this only cost 2% which is phenomenal) and take a look at the volunteer list. You can fill out the volunteer form and a number of other things as well. Check it out. You can call me anytime at any of my numbers listed below if you have questions, comments etc. about the project, or anything else for that matter.

“There is no deeper well of energy than a clear vision of a worthy cause”

James P. Crocker, upon finishing this letter

Thanks, everyone, for your consideration! God bless you!


Saturday, June 14, 2008

A merry secret of joy in trial

As glad and merry as it was possible

by Amy Carmichael

Nearly five hundred years ago Julian of Norwich wrote that when she was earnestly thinking of our Lord’s suffering, and trying to see [as it were] His dying,

…suddenly, He changed the look of His blessed Countenance. The changing of His blessed Coutenance changed mine, and I was as glad and merry as it was possible. Then brought our Lord merrily to my mind: ‘Where is now any point of the pain or of thy grief?’ And I was full merry.

But this is only the beginning. It has not entered into the heart to conceive the joy that is drawing nearer every day – the joy that shall be ours when we are where there will be no more withering or fear of withering.

I understood that we be now, in our Lord’s meaning, in His Cross with Him in His pains and His passion, dying; and we, willing abiding in the same Cross with His help and His grace unto the last pointn, suddenly He shall change His Cheer to us, and we shall be with Him in Heaven. Betwixt that one and the other shall be no time, and then shall all be brought to joy. And thus said He in this Shewing: ‘Where now is any point of thy pain or thy grief?’ And we shall be full blessed.

So she was ‘full merry!’ If it can be this now, what will it be when [as we trust, shortly] we shall see Him, and we shall speak face to face?

It seems to me clear beyond question that in the lives of God’s beloved there are sometimes periods when the adversary is “given power to overcome.” This power need never overwhelm the inner courts of the spirit, but it may press hard on the outworks of being. And so I have been asking that our dearest Lord may have the joy [surely it must be a joy to Him] of saying about each one of us, and about us all a little company of His children: “I can count on him, or her, on them for anything. I can count on them for peace under any disappointment or series of disappointments, under any strain. I can trust them never to set limits, saying, ‘Thus far, and no farther.’ I can trust them not to offer the reluctant obedience of a doubtful faith, but to be as glad and merry as possible.”

And all that begins in the gift of great contentment.


Amy Carmichael, “As Glad and Merry as It Was Possible,’ Rose From Brier (Fort Washington, PA: CLC Publications, 2002), 93-94.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Early evening thunderstorm over Lake Okeechobee


Come, love of Christ, afresh to win us

O breath of love, come breathe within us

Words: Elizabeth A P Head (1850-1936)
Tune: Spiritus Vitae

O breath of love, come breathe within us,
renewing thought and will and heart;
come, love of Christ, afresh to win us,
revive your Church in every part!

O wind of God, come bend us, break us
till humbly we confess our need;
then, in your tenderness remake us,
revive, restore-for this we plead.

O breath of life, come sweeping through us,
revive your Church with life and power;
O breath of life, come, cleanse, renew us
and fit your Church to meet this hour.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Palms at stormy sunset

Here are palms against a blue-scale sky, at sunset, under an approaching lightning storm. Streaks of lightning were hitting in the west while I snapped this shot toward the east, catching the ambient lighting of the reflected sun and stormy cover. Enjoy!

O Son of God, our Captain of salvation

O Son of God, our Captain of salvation

Words: John Ellerton, 1871
Tune: Strength and Stay

O Son of God, our Captain of salvation,
thyself by suffering schooled to human grief,
we bless thee for thy sons of consolation,
who follow in the steps of thee their Chief.

Those whom thy Spirit's dread vocation severs
to lead the vanguard of thy conquering host;
whose toilsome years are spent in brave endeavors
to bear thy saving Name from coast to coast.

Those whose bright faith makes feeble hearts grow stronger,
and sends fresh warriors to the great campaign,
bids the lone convert feel estranged no longer,
and wins the sundered to be one again;

And all true helpers, patient, kind, and skillful,
who shed thy light across our darkened earth,
counsel the doubting, and restrain the willful,
soothe the sick bed, and share the children's mirth.

Such was thy Levite, strong in self-oblation
to cast his all at thine apostles' feet;
he whose new name, through every Christian nation,
from age to age our thankful strains repeat.

Thus, Lord, thy saint in holy memory keeping,
still be thy Church's watchword, "Comfort ye,"
till in our Father's house shall end our weeping,
and all our wants be satisfied in thee!


Friday, June 06, 2008

Sinners, whose love can ne'er forget

All hail the power of Jesus' name!

Words: Edward Perronet (1725-1792), 1780
Tune: Coronation

All hail the power of Jesus' name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
bring forth the royal diadem,
to crown Him, crown Him, crown Him Lord of all!

Crown Him, ye morning stars of light,
who fixed this floating ball;
now hail the Strength of Israel's might,
and crown Him, crown Him, crown Him Lord of all!

Crown Him ye martyrs of your God,
who from His altar call:
extol the stem of Jesse's rod,
and crown Him, crown Him, crown Him Lord of all!

Ye seed of Israel's chosen race,
ye ransomed of the fall,
hail Him who saves you by His grace.
and crown Him, crown Him, crown Him Lord of all!

Hail Him, ye heirs of David's line,
whom David Lord did call,
the God incarnate, Man divine,
and crown Him, crown Him, crown Him Lord of all!

Sinners, whose love can ne'er forget
the wormwood and the gall,
go spread your trophies at His feet,
and crown Him, crown Him, crown Him Lord of all!

Let every tribe and every tongue
that bound creation's call,
now shout in universal song
the crowned, the crowned, the crowned Lord of all!



O spread thy covering wings around

O God of Bethel, by whose hand

Words: verses 1-4: Philip Doddridge, 1736;
verse 5: unknown Scottish author

O God of Bethel, by whose hand
thy people still are fed;
who through this earthly pilgrimage
hast all our fathers led:

Our vows, our prayers, we now present
before thy throne of grace:
O God of Israel, be the God
of their succeeding race.

Through each perplexing path of life
our wandering footsteps guide;
give us each day our daily bread,
and raiment fit provide.

O spread thy covering wings around,
till all our wanderings cease,
and at our Father's loved abode
our souls arrive in peace!

Such blessings from thy gracious hand
our humble prayers implore;
and thou shalt be our covenant God
and portion evermore!