Tag Archives: burner

Double Your Peace

19 Oct

Have you ever asked God for wisdom, cracked your Bible open to a random spot, and the answer is in the first verse you read?

I haven’t.

But I have found answers to my prayers in the passages of Scripture I am currently reading.  Take yesterday and today, for example.


First a little background.

Right now I have two jobs that I thoroughly enjoy.  They are challenging and often push me out of my areas of expertise and comfort enough to keep me very dependent on God.  There are many creative opportunities every week – in both artistic (I love to paint and write and take pictures) and problem solving (How can we make this happen?  Can we do this better?) situations.  And in all this, I have the privilege of inspiring and leading others. I enjoy all these aspects so much that I work hard, fully engaged with everything in me, for long hours.

Stay up late, get up early.  The proverbial candle has been burning toward the center with increasing speed and intensity.

During the past couple of weeks my Bible reading has been all over the place – a chapter here, a section there – without continuity.  That’s not bad, in fact I enjoy the spontaneity and freedom.  Then someone mentioned the tree planted by streams of water in Psalm 1 in a conversation.  It’s one of my favorite Psalms, so I pulled out my Bible when I got home and let the familiar promises (and warnings) wash over my heart and flow into my mind.

I was completely hooked.  Again.

Reading, studying, and digging into the Book of Psalms is always a treat.

That brings us to yesterday’s and today’s reading: Psalms 3 and 4.

Holding my sleepy head in my hands, and reading through half-open eyes, I sat straight up and laughed when I read Psalm 3:5

I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.

The context for this verse is that God gave David so much peace in the midst of his enemies, he was able to get the sleep he needed.  While I am not being chased by my estranged son and his army, I am constantly pursued by excellence and giving my best to the point that I forget I have limits.  I need rest.  I need to take the time to prepare nutritious food.  I need  the endorphins and other health benefits of regular exercise.

So, I made a mental commitment yesterday morning to bring my physical needs back into balance with ministry activities… and ate chocolate-covered pomegranates and nacho chips for dinner at 8:30pm while still at work, got home very late and finally fell into bed after midnight.

This morning, I re-read Psalm 3, and smiled sheepishly at how well I took the admonition in verse 5 before beginning today’s reading.  In Psalm 4 David compares the joy he has in the Lord with the riches of the ungodly.  His joy is not only vastly more than theirs, but he can…. “lie down and sleep in peace.”

Message received.  Loud and clear.  Twice.


Ready for Sunday

Some things I am doing to make sure I’m not leading from empty–

  • make a list of priorities
  • build a schedule based on it, and
  • find an accountability partner who will ask the hard questions

Jesus took time to care for his physical needs.  It’s not un-spiritual or less important than my ministry to-do list.  In fact, this is part of the foundation to being able to minister effectively.

As I talk with others in ministry, this issue comes up a lot.  Let’s encourage and help one another figure this out.  Please share your ideas.


Through the Roar

28 Jul

Surely, I am with you always.  Matthew 28:20

The woods were quiet as I ambled down the path toward the creek.  The air, as crisp as the leaves under my sandals, stirred a little, then fell still again.  Perfection.  Not too hot, but not chilly; beautiful blue sky and sunshine; brilliantly lit orange leaves from the ground to the treetops.  Autumn was waking up my senses.

Far away an intermittent roar broke through the idyllic afternoon.  Surrounded by the deep forest, I looked around each time I heard it, but the source remained a mystery.

Out of the edge of my peripheral vision a large swooping object made me duck instinctively and whirl around to face it.  I laughed out loud!

Glorious color floated not too far above the treetops as another roar escaped from the burner throwing flames into the billowy balloon.  I’d never been this close to one before.  Seen from a distance, their silhouettes float across the sky in peaceful silence.  But above me a bulbous craft creaked, broadcast its riders’ voices, and roared.

Now that the balloon was directly overheard the roaring dominated everything– my peaceful walk, the chatter of the birds, and my thoughts.

I was in the woods to spend time with God.  His creation always draws me closer to Him.  Apparently so do hot air balloons, as He began to speak to me through the roar.

I’ll share three insights from that day with you.

1.  The burner stayed with the balloon. 

(I know this is one of those ultra-obvious statements, but being aware of the basics, what is often taken for granted, is what makes the light bulb snap on over my head.)  The source of freedom, progress, and power was right there within reach.  All the captain had to do was reach his hand out and turn the valve.  Instantly, the roar heated the air inside the light-weight nylon, and the balloon gracefully responded.

2. The captain didn’t wait for the balloon to get into trouble before letting the burner roar.

The roars didn’t last long.  Sometimes just a few seconds, sometimes a full minute.  All totaled, the time the burner was lit was probably a fraction of the entire flight.  But frequent bursts were necessary to keep the balloon from crashing into a treeline or listing all the way to the ground.  To run the burner for the same amount of time it ran during the trip before it took off would have made for a very short run.

3. From a distance, the burner is unnoticeable.

I mentioned this earlier.  Previously when I’ve seen hot-air balloons, they have been a long way off.  From my perspective they float effortlessly and beautifully– without roaring.  But, of course I’m just not close enough to hear the burner blast power and the balloon skyward.  Physics and chemistry turn into art and magic.

God spoke to me through these, and many other parallels that day in the woods.  Reminding me that He is always right with me; that I need Him all throughout the day, not just at the beginning; and that He combines many, many relationships and situations to create a wonder for others to see that is my life.

I went out to commune with God through His creation – and He spoke through the roar of a propane and silk ballet.


Ready for Sunday

Every follower of Jesus needs both long drinks at His well (much like filling the entire balloon before a flight) and short sips throughout the day.  Especially as worship leaders, however, we can’t do what He’s called us to do without both.  I know that!  But how do I make it a regular practice… instead of waiting until I’m in trouble?  How do I become so desperate for God, I can’t go on without Him?

I’m interested in your thoughts.  Accountability to someone who asks me hard questions (I’ve given her permission to do so) is part of my strategy.  How have you made these practices part of your life so your relationship with Him propels you forward with His power in order to lead others toward Him?

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