"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's Good to be a Dreamer

Dreams have always fascinated me. I am not someone who dreams every night (that I’m aware), but when I do it is always interesting to try and figure out if there are any meanings therein. Throughout my adult life, I have had three recurring dreams that involve three different houses. Each dream where I end up at one of these houses, I remember visiting the houses before and only one house is in each dream. One house is a very small and neglected house. It is similar to my first home that was a small, 600-ish square foot, four-room house deep in a wooded rural area. In my dream, this house has apparently been abandoned for years and has evidence that someone has broken in and been living there, however I never see them. The second dream house is a much larger house along a coast similar to that of Maine. It is a large Victorian style home with ornate gingerbread trim, turrets, and cupolas all around. A large porch wraps all four sides of the house with a spectacular view over the ocean and rocky cliffs. The house is also neglected, empty, and weathered. The shadowy and musty interior is full of sheet-covered furniture and each time I visit the house, I find new rooms and delight in uncovering items to see the original style of the room. At times, I also discover stairways and hallways leading to other floors, but always end up at the back of the house that has large screened panels facing the sea.
The third house is a modern day house, but extremely large and lavishly appointed. There are several floors with bedrooms, media rooms, wonderful wood paneling, balconies, hot tubs, indoor and outdoor gardens with ponds with more to see each time. The consistent fact of each of these houses is that I am the only one at each house and no matter whether it is day or night; I feel a sense of security, peace, and “being at home.” Not long ago, I had a difficult night sleeping and I found myself saying aloud, “oh, if I could only get to the big beach house, I know I could fall asleep in a minute.” Before you start thinking I am a total loon, let me get to the point.
Whatever the purpose of these recurring dream houses might be, the only thing I feel is memorable is the feeling that they are there just for me. Whoever may have come before my visits prepared them, may have lived in them, but now they were left for me as a respite from the stress and daily grind of life. I do know that when I wake up after one of these dreams, I am more refreshed than usual, remember many details, and have a sense of longing to return.
Jesus’ followers worried about what would become of them when Jesus was no longer present with them. He gave them the promise and assurance that provisions were being made as they spoke. Jesus said, “many mansions were being prepared for them in Heaven where they would live forever in the presence of God.” This was meant to be a comfort to people of those days as well as us today. God is preparing houses for all believers for eternity. Houses of security, peace, and a feeling of “home.” Imagine no more broken appliances or leaks.
Just as my dream houses are all different sizes and types, they all give me the sense of peace and looking forward to getting there. I can’t imagine the type of home I’ll have in God’s heaven, but I know I am looking forward to going home to see….big, small, lavish, simple…..it will be home.
And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Combat world problems with a Musical

Who doesn't enjoy a good musical? I think the world would be a better place if more joy, fun and music took place like this somewhat inpromptu musical in a train station in Antwerp. Enjoy.....I guarantee you'll feel better when you finish watching! (copy and paste into browser)


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

My friend, the Cat Woman

An excerpt from the upcoming book "The Monday Night Supper Club." -
Everyone has one. That friend who for whatever reason has a hobby of collecting cats; not porcelain cats, not plastic cats, not cat clocks, but real live cats. You know, that friend we all affectionately call "the cat woman." We suspect our cat woman of going outside in the middle of the night with all seven of her little cats on little leashes and performing show tunes in her neighborhood cul-de-sac. And on Sundays when cat woman doesn't really want to get up for early church, she dresses all her cats in little nightgowns and have a Sunday brunch tea party. The advantage of having one of these people as a friend is that there is always a story to be told which leads me to my thoughts for today.
Recently, my friend the cat woman was telling us that Gracie (one of the horde) is fascinated with water and loves to reach out reach out under the running sink faucet with her little paw to touch the water, then try to lean over and slurp a little in her little cat mouth. How cute. Hmmm. So the story continues that my friend was in the bath one morning and Gracie decided to do more than sit on the edge and watch the water. She jumps into the bathtub, full of water, containing my friend, and again....full of water. From what I gathered, Gracie decided that the water was not quite so appealing and began creating quite the ruckus in trying to get out. My cat woman friend was creating quite the ruckus in also trying to get out at the same time, so by the time both were out of the tub, the room was quite wet and no one was very happy.
You know, as humans, we often become attracted by those things which are attractive and fun on the surface, however, they are not quite so lovely once we become engulfed. We tend to thinkof sinful things as dark and gloomy, however, I think they are bright red with streamers, polka dots, and music with a great bass beat. Why else would sinful things be so attractive? Now normally I tend to not use a lot of church words (like sinful), but it is the word that God puts out there, so we have to hear it. Basically, sin is doing those things that God is not pleased with and is not according to His wishes for our lives.
For example, I think back to some movies I have seen that were not the most appropriate for a Christian teenager, young man, or middle-aged man. Why did I go? To be honest, I went because friends were going and I didn't want to be left out, didn't want to be laughed at by suggesting we should not see it, plus....I wanted to see it myself. Yet, later on, I would find myself thinking more and more about the content, becoming immersed in the thoughts and actions in the show and would have to deal with knowing it was wrong, yet enjoying the experience.
That's why it is so important that we learn to trust the instincts that God gives us as His children. Folks, God is not a restrictive God who does not want us to enjoy life. I have a blast in living each day as I try to live as God would want. I am blessed with a great close family and friends support system, a good job that allows me to work from home, a church where I can find encouragement and growth, and gifts of music and writing that continue to bless others and myself. Yet, despite all of this, I struggle every day with staying out of the attractiveness of sin. Just call me Gracie.
We can all learn from my friend, the cat woman, and Gracie. You might think you like the water and finally take the plunge into the lovely tub of water, just as you discover that it is not where you really wanted to be. Too late, you are cold, wet, and miserable. Stay dry, happy, and and live according to the sense and ways God gave us as an example for life.
And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.