Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 03/11/2012

a) My clock did not change today, because I live in Arizona. Take that! (This is also a reminder that you are now an hour late if you did not change your clocks last night/this morning)

2) Communion is great. Read the poem:

Sacrament of Love

I’m given bread and take and eat
I’m given wine and take and drink
I’m told to do this in remembrance
I’m told to do this with reverence
I do not understand Your Love
I do not know quite enough
I read Your Word and study
I read Your followers daily
I admit I do not get it
I admit I need Your Spirit
I’m searching more for Your face
I’m searching for You in this place
I study more to know You more
I study more down from the floor
I’m getting more of what I need
I’m getting You while on my knees
You help me know You above
You show me this Sacrament of Love
You’re helping me know the Holy One
You’re showing me Your Only Son

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 46.

Kony 2012: Further commentary from me later

Will You Go To Hell With Me?

Time for a mini-series (that always has the potential of growing, I suppose, but it currently seems definite in my mind!).

When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
Galatians 2:11-13

Do you like your church? Do you like the place you gather with others to worship? Do you feel you fit in with everyone (or at least most of them)?

Have you drawn away from other churches or denominations? Have you drawn away from society as a whole?

Peter had a calling to reach out to the Israelites, and Paul to the Gentiles (non-Jews). Peter could be seen eating with non-Jews, because all believers are seen as Israelites. It was only when those who have believed in God their whole lives showed up that he felt a need to draw away from the Gentile believers. Paul called him on that.

Pulling yourself out of society or away from those who “do not believe as you do” is selfish. (The exception would be for a brand new believer who needs to make the move to be able to grow in his/her faith without being pulled back to his/her old habits and sins)

The other way this can be seen is by inviting people to your church.

This is not usually a bad thing. In fact, we are supposed to bring others into fellowship with believers and God.

The bad thing is when a) you have cut yourself/selves off from society completely and/or b) your walk is less than righteous … to be overly polite and politically correct.

a) Look at Westboro Baptist as an example: It is almost exclusively made up of family members. They have essentially been cut off from the world, and they routinely condemn the world as being hated by God (which is arguably true to a point). They have become so focused on what they believe to be true that nothing else is allowed in, and their beliefs cannot be questioned ever. God hates people!

b) We will stick with Westboro Baptist here, too: They lack the one thing God has commanded us to have. That is love. They do way more harm than good. They spread hate and dissension instead of love and peace.

In other words, it is like we are saying to people, instead of “Will you go to church with me?”, “Will you go to Hell with me?”

Living and “worshiping” this way leads more people to Hell than to Christ.

Kind of a downer, eh?

This is not necessarily a rebuke (though it could certainly be seen as an indictment against many churches in the West), but it is a call to examine yourself. What are your motives? What are you doing? How much are you loving on people whom you do not know (that well) or whom you do not like?

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 03/04/2012

Please do not think this poem is a commentary on autistic children. However, it can be seen as a cry of a repentant sinner, and that all people, including autistic children, have potential for growth and change. We must remember, however, that there is only so much we can do as humans. The rest is entirely dependent on God.

change me

A change is being made
deep inside my heart
A change that is ripping
my soul and body apart
It reaches down inside
to the depths of me
It reaches way deep down
to meet all of my needs
This change fills me with
a nagging hunger
This change brings to me
knowledge of the Word
So, Living Word come
show what you are about
Holy Living Word come
help me love it out
I need You in my life
to help remove my doubt
I need You in my life
to change me inside out

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 45.

Autistic poems

My last post was not the only thing to come to mind while at the Rock & Worship Roadshow. Two acrostic poems also came to mind. This week, you get more poems! You are so fortunate!

AUTISTIC CHILD

Amazing life
Unexpected blessing
Totally capable, yet
In need of assistance
Simple in understanding, with
Tremendous potential
Inate curiosity
Curiouser approach to life

Childhood made difficult
Hindered, but not stopped
Inhibited, but empowered
Lovable and
Deserving of our love

AUTISTIC FAITH

Ability in Christ for good, but
Underperforming faith
Trying in our own power
Insufferably fighting,
Struggling against God, yet
Trusting His hands
In need of His grace
Comforted by His voice

Forgiven completely, but
At times we forget
In need of His help with
Taking up our cross
Healing only if we trust Him

Autistic Faith

Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness . . . . Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”

God told Hosea to marry, to put it bluntly, a prostitute. The point of this: God’s people had prostituted themselves spiritually. I have a new take on this … a gentler approach, and one that may help us understand better the Apostle Peter!

Friday night here in Phoenix we had the Rock & Worship Roadshow, and what an amazing show it was! Tenth Avenue North sang their song “By Your Side” during this show. Something struck me when they sang this verse:

And please don’t fight
These hands that are holding you.
My hands are holding you.

I work with low-functioning autistic children who are in the first through fifth grades. It is not an easy job, to say the least. These children struggle with understanding basic necessities of life and learning. It can be such a joy watching them suddenly grasp how to say a word, count out loud, use the toilet by themselves, or even just point at a picture. When they achieve these, I and the other teachers cannot help but hold them close in a big hug and say “Good job! I am so proud of you!” To get to this point, however, there are many struggles for both of us.

Just to get these students to learn something takes great patience and repetition. Occasionally, these little ones can pick up a new task in an instant. It also can take several minutes or several months to get them to learn something as simple as pointing to a picture to saying “I want …” to walking without holding our hand. Even after they learn something, they can easily forget until we remind them. They can get distracted by toys and food quicker than we can blink!

Much of the time they do not want to learn something new, even if it is for their benefit. These young ones can scream and cry, kick and hit, scratch and pinch, flail around, and bite … us, other students, and even themselves. When this happens, we have to step in and try to calm them down through speaking softly, occasionally speaking very firmly, holding on to them (through holding hands or holding their arms), and, when it is really bad, putting them in a hold. A hold means restraining their arms, and sometimes their legs, until they can relax and listen once again. Many times they fight this hold with every bit of strength they have.

This past Friday was one of those days that I had to help with every one of these with various students. I just wanted to say to these kiddos, “Just relax! I love you and want to help you! Please, listen and sit still! It will be okay!”

The thing that struck me at the concert when listening to Tenth Avenue North was this:

We Christians sure can act like autistic children.

God comes to us when we have no understanding of His ways and His love. He gently moves us toward being like His Son, and sometimes we get it right away. The vast majority of the time, we kick and scream; we flail around like we are being forced to eat dung; and we lash out at our Teacher and each other. We easily get distracted by toys and food … and each other. It takes us a lifetime to grasp the simple teachings of loving God and loving others.

Yet, God patiently works with us, every moment of every day. Sometimes He coaxes us, other times He holds us until we listen, again.

Am I saying God sent autism into the world to teach us to love Him more? Not at all. Like all things, He has redeemed this aspect of our fallen world to display His glory and love.

Just as with Hosea and Gomer, God takes a situation that looks miserable and makes it something glorious. I never imagined I would work with autistic children. Now that I am, I would never want to give up the chance. It does not mean I will not change careers in the future, but as hard as it is working with these very special children I have rarely been so fulfilled and blessed.

The message for the rest of us: Let the Healer and Teacher mold us. It is not comfortable being put in a hold (being disciplined), but it is so glorious when we finally “get it” and He simply holds us as He says “Good job! I am so proud of you!

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 02/26/2012

We are all different. I am discussing that in my latest college course. It is … fun? It can be, actually, but I am busy. This means I do not have a lot of time to enjoy the work! Anyway:

your fault

Why do people look for faults?
Why do people mock others?
All you do is laugh at “them.”
You look at only colors.
Remember that you have faults, too.
You do not have to keep them as scars.
When you see the faults of “them,”
Use those to see what yours are.
Do not look and discriminate.
Rather, use these to discern
What faults you have yourself.
Now use this to try and learn.
Learn how to work on your faults
And to learn from “them,” also,
So that your faults are not so bad,
And others look better, as well.

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 39.