Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The verb of my late Father-in-law Mark Tiersma.

The Verb of my late Father-in-law Mark Tiersma was Gratitude in all things. I am finding this a good season to practice this in the midst of chaos... and the sense that every day is a gift is gripping my soul in a deeper way than ever before.

Happy ThanksGiving to all with much love.

  • I am glad that my friend who was homeless for a few days is now renting an appartment that he can afford.
  • I am glad to recieve art supplies from a stranger during a yard sale... just because what we are doing is something he wants to contribute to...
  • I am glad for the hawk I got to see up close... there is wild life in the city skies... and it is not only pigeons and crows (which are also cool to me).
  • I am glad for the generosity of friends who buy hats at yard sales ; ) and chose to pay much more than I ask for it... and how I was able to pass on this generosity to others...
  • I am glad for neighbors who feed neighbors when they are hurt and hungry.
  • I am glad for the gift of over 15 turkeys for neighbors... an answer to prayer this Nov.
  • I am glad for generous churches, unions, and foodbanks.
  • I am glad for old interns who visit and find themselves right back in the mix... even if it is for a day -- Thanks Dan!
  • I am glad for two great new team players with us in LA InnerChange: Rikki and Kristin.
  • I am glad for Doctors and all who are wise in the healing arts.
  • I am glad for a loving wife and life partner... We are coming up on 10 years now.
  • I am glad to make the love of God and Neighbor my highest aim.

I thank God for this and much more.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Pray More and Nothing can seperate us from the Love of God

This Week has been about getting a friend out of harms way. We all have a past... and many of us wish we could change the realities of that past... We become tired at some point at hurting others and ourselves... and those of us who find God and work the 12 steps of AA / NA also seek to make amends whenever we can... but to do that we have to be safe and stay safe... Avoiding the people, places, and things that might hinder God's work in our hearts.

One of my friends this week chose to become homeless rather than take the path of violence... I respect that. We got to share our small home with him for a couple of days... Not enough room for 3 of us in our humble home...

We recovered as much of his stuff from his old appartment... and God ansewred our prayers quickly for a new home...
We moved his stuff into storage one day and two days latter we moved his stuff into his new home.

What others intended for evil God has worked out for our good to the glory of His name and praise -- Less rent in a safer environment.

We will by God's grace seek to live, love, and return only good for whatever comes our way, in order that we may become on the inside more like Christ -- Romans 8 and Ephesians 3:14-21.

Pray that our faith will become stronger having once again gotten tested. May we grow the seeds of love and grace that can sustain us and the coming generations. May God's peace rest on all that read this...


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

We continue to find Joy in the midst of the Drag of Life

Norma called me this morning. Her son is in the hospital with a blod clot in his leg. She and her daughter both have the flu... and she is still recovering from her car accident. She so much wants life to get back to "normal". Her neighbors have poured out a tremendous amount of love in this season. She has not hardly had to cook a meal since her car accident. This is one of the strengths of our neighborhood -- its loving hospitality. She is very thankful to God for the many answers to prayer in the journey.

Kathy Henry also asks for prayer for a mystery illness... maybe caught in her sacrificail work at Clinica Oscar Romero... that is causing her considerable suffering and discomfort.

Saturday I had a very sucessful yard sale. We raised enough money to help 3 friends with thier living expenses. Pray for my formation of a business plan to start a thrift store. Also I hope to have more yard sales in the future. If you have stuff that you might like to contribute... let me know.

My friend Willie is currently living in a weekly rental hotel. He longs to be in a regular appartment by the new year. He is paying much more rent than Jude and I are to live in a space less than half than what we have... and we live in a small one bedroom apt. Prayer and any tangible help and support in this journey is welcome.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Worship, the only way we don't get coopted by "the World"

JAWS Favorite Worship Mix

1. Track 03 4:02 Taize
2. Path of Life 4:47 Ruth Naomi Floyd With New Eyes
3. There is a Redeemer 3:13 Kieth Green
4. Track 03 4:51 Apt Core #2
5. Track 06 3:21 Matt Redman
6. Track 07 3:18 Julie Miller Orphans and Angels
7. Air 4:18 Barry Taylor Love Songs for Underdog
8. Espiritu Santo Venga Aqui 5:42 Costarica Vinyard
9. 4:28 Cross Movement
10. 4:38 John Micheal Talbot Come to The Quiet
11. Tu Primer Amor 4:00 Giovani Aniversaio
12. Track 09 4:19
13. Track 03 2:24 Mahalia Jackson The Greatest Gospel singer In the World
14. Track 09 4:20 Kieth Green
15. Bargin 4:57 Rez XX
16. It is Good 4:47 Beth Meres Tree
17. Multiply Your Love 5:03 Andy Park All I Need

I have been looking back on my life. I have noticed that what I give myself too the most ... both in terms of passion, intention, and action... that is what I worship. I have found that a centered focus on God through Jesus Christ cause me to love deeply -- Ephessians 3:14-21. When I drift on this "Practices of the Presence of God", then the quality of my love drifts as well.

Some say that worship is easy... not for me... I get easily distracted from the main point of focuss... I have found that I need support in the journey... Fellowship, good supportive tools, Like Don Postama's Book "Space for God", and I need Music...

Today I am feeling a call back to worship. We can serve a lot of small and insignificant wants and desires... or we can worship with our lives the God who made us.

If you are worshipping God, then your love will grow and overflow... If you find yourself inwardly blocked and tied up somehow... figure out what has to change... You can not worship and then not love... without the meaning of your worship becoming hollow; You can not love with out drawing from the source of love -- That is the point of Worship.

Matthew 25, Isaiah 58, Eph. 3:14-21

I plan to spin The above worship songs tommorrow and to continue to reflect on this call in my heart.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Stand with us in praying and supporting our friend Randa -- thanks.

Randa has just found out she has breast cancer. This means that she gets to stay with us longer... it also means that she has to wait on her dreams. And so it goes... Here are her own words and a mailing address where notes of encouragement can be sent ; )

Greetings once again from Los Angeles.

I had intended this newsletter to be the one where I explain to you all the details of when I would be moving to India and what I would be doing there. I am learning once again that we are not in control of our lives and must rely on the Lord for wisdom for each day.

In my routine medical check-ups before leaving for India the doctors found breast cancer. Within 48 hours all my plans have changed. I have met with the surgeon and will be having a lumpectomy on November 24th (the day before Thanksgiving). After the surgery they are expecting 6 weeks of radiation and possibly chemotherapy (this depends upon what they find when they do the actual surgery). With this in mind I will be delaying my move to India.

My mom & two sisters will be coming for the surgery. They will stay with me until Nov. 30th. At that time I will move in with my friend (and also my boss), Sue Lloyd. I'll stay with Sue until I leave for India, which is tentatively set for late August at this point. Since I'll be able to work while getting the treatments the wisest decision seems to be to stay in LA and continue to work with InnerCHANGE.

I would appreciate your prayers. It looks like the cancer is contained in one mass and has not spread to the lymph nods. A lumpectomy will take only the mass and the surrounding tissue. They will also be doing a Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy which means they will follow the path internally that the cancer would have traveled to my lymph nodes and take samples of these to check for cancer. If cancer hasn‚t infected these first few lymph nodes it will mean that it hasn‚t traveled outside of the immediate area.

I have always loved reading the Old Testament, especially the books of Israel‚s history. Many times Israel was surrounded by enemies who outnumbered them and the situation seemed impossible. Cancer is a huge "enemy" and from the first day of hearing that I had this disease I felt assured that the God of Israel is my Lord and Protector. He will fight this enemy and I will come out of this fight victorious. Prayer is the weapon that will conquer cancer and I would appreciate your joining me in this stand of faith in God‚s power to deliver me.

P.O. Box 26427
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Blessings, Randa

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Feeling the Blues

We all have days like this... and none of us want to have days like this.

Hear are the facts:

My Dad is in the hospital because what they thought was Cancer, adn then TB in the lungs is not acting like either... so he has moved into being a mystery diagnosis... and they are trying to figure it all out... Think Limbo.

My mother-in-law affectionately know as "MeM" or Arlene went to the hospital with an irregular heart beat. She is stressed out because her husband just recently passed away.

It is the little things that get to me... Today I went to pick up a donation for a yardsale on Sat. but the person who offered the donation was called away by her job and thus was unable to pass on the donations.

I heard a lecture today that talked about slavery and the Killing fields of the Sudan. Good content with hope in very dificult times... it made all my personal pain seem so petty... and yet I have to be real with God and not ignore my heart.

Got to go to a meeting this evening. Which is both good and bad. The hours won't be wasted... but tommorrow I think I need to spend some extra time in prayer.

My mindset was punctuated with the blues last night and I could not get to sleep because of a large "Ghetto Bird" (a Helicopter) buzzing arround our neighborhood until 2am in the morning. There was a "manhunt" going on looking for someone who had a gun... this also made parking impossible... and so it goes...

Everybody gets the blues sometimes...

Monday, November 08, 2004

Fragmenst on Character Growth for Mel and others

Growth comes from focussing and learning what is within our power and responsibility. That is part of what makes the "Serenity Prayer" such a helpful prayer.

My friend Mel is going to be sharing with a group of JR. high youth about Character growth and development. There are key ideas that I have found useful to point out to my younger friends that have helped them learn to make better choices...

I will be adding some of those comments as I think of them on my blog for her and others. Feel free in the comment section to add your own.

  • Growing on the inside is the most effective way to improve the quality of your life, because you live with yourself 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • Who you are is what you share with someone else in every relationship.
  • The content and quality of our lives are built on the content and quality of our rleationships with God, ourselves, one another, and our environment.
  • There is pain in the process of learning, but the pain is worth it... Remember when you learned to ride a bicycle... the diziness, the falling, and the triumph... and anyone who has learned to ride a bicycle can ride further and faster than they can run...
  • Who bennefits from learning??? You Do!!! Who bennefits from not Learning???
  • Do you want to learn enough to choose what you want to do to make a living; or do you want to be doing what someone else tells you to do?
  • Timing is everything... Practice is a key way to be ready for the right momment and opportunity... Example... a great batter in baseball knows when and how to swing the bat... and it is not every day that the bases are loaded and you get to be at bat... Either you are ready or you are not...
  • Our capacity to Give and Recieve Love depends on our Maturity in Character (I Cor. 13, II Peter 1:3-11). There are no short cuts to growing in Character.
  • Poor communication skills will lead to a lonely life. Good communication skills will open the door to many friendships.

We are creating history every day by our choices. We Live with the history we create for ourselves and others for the rest of our lives. Learning to make good choices is key to having a good life.

A good life contributes in a positive way to the life of others.

It is a sad thing to grow old and fail to grow wise. It is sad to be an old fool...

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Drag when...We are on the verge of new beginnings

Recently Jude went to visit her mom in Visalia. Her mom was ever so glad for her being there with her ... her car broke down three times while she was there.

As some of you know Norma -- who is close to our community -- had been out of work and on disability for months and had just gotten reassigned to a job she could do in the LA School System... and now her accident has her sidelined again... now in pain and seeking to continue to persue what God wants to bring through this... her car was totaled and she isn't sure where she is going to get the money for a new one...

Willie had his ATM and Pin Number Stolen and his Bank account cleaned out of the little that was in there... Yes we have corrected this but we are still working through the paper work... When it rains Willie can't eat at home because water leaks from the roof on to his electric stove.

Paul's car is dieing and he too needs a new car...

Jude's Cell phone has stopped working...

Our computer printer has died and we have yet to get a new one...

In November/December the LA team is going to be lead through a community discernment process to set out on some new dreams together. We have come to a time of closure on some old ones... The Cambria Appartments for example (See our web-site)... are completely in the hands of the tennants and the non-profit corp they have started... and the board that they elect...

There have been an exponential increase in annoying events as we move towards this time... pray for God's guidance and peace in the midst of seeking what new things God would have us do.