Gravity

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(Photo by Ben O’Sullivan on Unsplash)

 

My life changed the day I pulled myself into the Library. It was a place I never wanted to visit. Life was a daily grind of launching and landing. The struggle to keep the lack of gravity from dominating my life. Just like everyone else I knew. The struggle was very real. The day began with releasing the belts that held me in my bed so that I could sleep without worrying about floating to the ceiling or out the window and out into space. 

Then breakfast. Tubes of “Cap’n Crunch” squirted into my hungry mouth, trying to ignore the longing to have a plain old bowl of “Cap’n Crunch” in a bowl with milk and the satisfying sensation of the actual Crunch. Still, I wondered at the very existence of that thought. No one ever experienced that. This was life on Earth. A weightless existence. We all made the best of it. 

Every day, began the same. The effort to get from point A to point B. Home to work and back again. Everyone’s strategy was different, and much of it depended on how much money you had saved up. How wealthy you were dictated how much ease you were able to experience as you went about business every day. 

The most basic was the cable poles that lined the streets. First I would open the front door of my apartment and hold onto the door frame. Concentration is everything when attempting to move from point to point. And, yes after a bit you gain a certain amount of expertise in this. You either learn to move or you eventually give up and hide in your home and never come out. Thousands of people in our city give up every day. The insane asylums are overflowing with those that give up. But, I digress. Back to the door frame. 

Using my arms like the elastic bands of a slingshot I launch myself at the pole outside the apartment building. There I can grab the cable that winds its way through the city until I reach my office. The hard part is when you encounter people going the other direction. Yes, certain cables are designated for one-way traffic. But, many people let their frustrations get the better of them and they ignore those rules and just grab the first cable they come to. 

Then there are those that can afford a propulsion backpack. As I am pulling myself along on the cable I can look up and see the wealthy powering their way to work effortlessly and in their cocoon of privacy afforded by their backpack. 

Then there are the EMTs in their helicopters rescuing those that lost their grip on the cable. Or those daredevils that use the ancient launchers from the tops of their homes or apartments. A dangerous proposition as you actually need to have a computer app that will calculate exactly what kind of power to use on the launcher and at what angle and elevation to set it to reach your destination. It definitely requires a daredevil mindset to use those. These daredevils keep the EMTs busy. And, we lose a few every week as their launchers malfunction and send their users into orbit and out into space.

As I pulled myself along on the cable a sense of desperate hopelessness rose up in my heart. Why was living this way? Why was there a sense of something better nagging at the back of my mind? Wasn’t life always this way? 

Then I saw him.

About a mile ahead I saw a man walking down the sidewalk all by himself with a big grin and a to-go coffee cup. And, he didn’t have a hold on the cable. He was just walking as if his feet we stuck to the ground. I had heard that there were a few companies working on shoes that would stick to the sidewalks. But, the costs were thought to be too prohibitive as most thought the sidewalks would need to be electrified so that the shoes could be magnetized…or whatever it would take to make that work.

I was dumbstruck. How was that possible? That man was unaffected by the lack of gravity. Then he was gone. He WALKED around the corner. Unfortunately, I had stopped on the cable and received a quite nasty push from the woman behind me. So I continued on my way to my office. 

But, I never made it to the office. I saw a building I had never really noticed until this morning. “Public Library”, the dingy unlit sign proclaimed on the outside of the red brick building. There was that nagging at the back of my mind. Something that said that there was something new, something containing hope. Something tells me that life wasn’t meant to be hopeless and the same-old-same-old. My heart screamed to follow the nagging. So I launched myself towards the two large oddly barbershop poles on either side of the doors of the Library. 

I managed to grab the pole to the right of the double doors. Each door was made of solid dark stained oak and had large smiling faces carved into each door. The faces looked like the face of that mythological character Santa Claus that my father used to tell me about as a child. All those old stories about Santa and a man from the dark times named Jesus. I forgot about those stories. Probably hadn’t thought of them in years. Years and years of struggle to stay on the ground and not drift off into space. Just a life of survival and the mind-numbing hopelessness of the sameness that kept going like a bad dream.

As I opened the door a warm blast of air escaped and washed over my face, and light streamed out the growing gap between the two doors as I pulled with as much leverage as I could gain from the pole. Until I finally stood next to the door.

I was standing.

There before me were rows and rows of shelves filled with books and people standing around reading books…not held down by anything. 

I walked into the library and came face to face with the Librarian. 

“Hello, Derek. Welcome to the Library. I am here to answer your questions and to lead you into all understanding into the land of Gravity. Out of the darkness and into the light. Out of the hopeless and into the New Creation. My name is Jesus. 

You have been called out of a world that has lost its anchor. I am the anchor. I am the Way, The Truth and the Life. There are weight and gravity in the Kindom and a future. Life without Me is without gravity and lost. Most of the people outside those doors are stuck in their ignorance and have no idea they are lost and drifting off into nothingness. 

You have been called to take the message of gravity to those lost and clueless about their lostness. It won’t be easy as those lost can’t see the hope. Indeed, most won’t even see you. They can’t see beyond their hopelessness. There is a kind of comfort to being lost. Especially when you don’t know you are lost. 

Welcome to the New Creation. Welcome to Gravity.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

If Your Presence . . .

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As a writer I have found inspiration just about everywhere. As I walk through life, events, incidents, people, places, dreams, all spark the creative urge to write. I don’t write to chronicle events, rather I write stories. I find them more satisfying and — it seems to me — stories written well have more of an impact upon the reader to convey feelings and complex interactions between people. Probably, the one most crucial factor that catalyzed my desire to write was my Mother. My Mother was the one that instilled a passion for reading. This in turn birthed the urge to write. A publisher’s representative once made a comment to me that I seemed to be well read and that it was reflected in my writing. I would have to agree with that. All writers that work at their craft — like musicians — are influenced by the writers that came before us and that we enjoyed reading.

This is not, however, about writing in general. But, about the one source of inspiration that guides my writing. The Holy Spirit, and a particular encounter with Him in the wee hours of the morning.

As I mentioned at the start of this article, lots of things in life trigger ideas for stories. I think if I tried hard enough, I could imagine a story out of just about anything, regardless of how mundane. At times I make a game out of imagining — postulating — a story line from something completely ordinary. Building a world around a complete stranger standing in line at the supermarket, just because they look unique. Sometimes I get myself in trouble doing that, as I tend to get lost in those thoughts and my wife often has to nudge me to get me to come back to the world my feet are actually planted in.

The stories The Holy Spirit brings are much better and definitely not mundane. His imagination dwarfs mine. So when I am half awake in the mornings — the time He likes to share His ideas the most — I have learned to pay attention and write down what He gives me. So I have learned to depend upon Him for ideas. Most of what I have blogged recently has come from Him. I am not afraid to admit that I am in some ways taking dictation, rather than creating something completely new. I don’t consider it plagiarism as He is giving it freely to me. In fact, I think He would be disappointed if I didn’t write down what He was sharing with me. Of course much of what He gives me, He expects that I will use my own imagination to illustrate and amplify what He is showing me so that others will be inspired. It’s how He has gifted me.

But, sometimes the morning visits are not about the writing. Sometimes it’s just about His Presence.

Monday May 6th 2013 dusk, I was talking with a friend about writing. She felt as though The Lord was calling her to write down the things He was giving her. So I told her to talk to Him before going to sleep and give Him permission to wake her in the night to talk. Since, this is often when The Lord wakes me to talk, I thought it might be a time He could connect with her.

So it was natural later that night, as I prepared to go to sleep, to do the same. So I told The Lord — I invited Him — to wake me if He wanted. And, I added; “I won’t complain”. This part was important to me, because in the past when God has awakened me, I would complain about missing my sleep. “Seriously!?! Can’t we do this in the morning Lord!?!” I would whine. So it was important to me to make sure He understood that I wouldn’t complain this time.

Tuesday Morning May 7th 2:57AM; I felt the familiar nudge to wake up. So I woke up and asked Him what He wanted to talk about? Did He have something for me to write? Was there something important that He wanted me to understand?

Silence.

“Okay Lord, then I’ll just pray”. So I took a few minutes to pray and tell HIm how much I Love Him. I was fully awake. So I sat on the edge of my bed and continued to pray for a couple of minutes and eventually ended up standing next to my bed with my arms reaching to the ceiling in worship.

That was when The Holy Spirit overshadowed me. It is not easy to describe the feeling of being overshadowed. The emotions are fully engaged and aware of every physical sensation. I know what it is like to be filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit. Being baptized in The Spirit is a joyous thing. But, this was different. The Power of the Holy Spirit was not so much emphasized as was His Presence.

I had not turned on the lights in the room and the moon was not up. So it was very dark and quite cold. I was standing there in the middle of my room in my underwear, but I was not uncomfortable. I only felt a warm and comforting peace that lifted the weight off of my feet. Almost as if I were not standing on the floor. The Peace was profoundly intimate and passionate, but not in a physical sense. It was a basic primal familiarity that comes between A Creator and His Creation. It was as basic as that.

He did not say anything. I didn’t see visions or images of any kind. I just stood there and was enthralled, captivated, overshadowed, breathless, between laughing and crying at the same time. It seemed to be the essence of falling in love for the first time exponentially magnified.

When I lowered my arms the glowing arms of the clock said 3:47 AM.

I sat back down on the bed and basked in His Presence. I was wrapped up in Him.

Eventually, I went back to sleep. I got up to prepare for work, remembering what had happened just a few hours before. I wondered, “Do I write this one down”. What did it mean?

I know what it meant. It meant that He was with me. Simple, uncomplicated and unpretentious. The only important thing about that morning was His Presence. He just wanted to be with me. No other purpose. Just to be together.

It reminded me of the following verse in Exodus chapter 33.

14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

To set this in the proper perspective, I want you the reader to understand what I have come to understand. There is no heavy theological explanation for this. From what I can tell, God just wanted to be with me. His Presence was profoundly alive in my room. I am not anything special because of this. The sense I received is that this was something He desires for all of His Children. And, in discussing this with my pastor and friend Larry Lane, we agreed that the key to all of this was the willingness — the invitation — for God to interrupt my sleep. To inject Himself into my life.

I had a very clear thought related to Exodus 33: 14 & 15. I could understand why Moses said that. Once you stand overshadowed by His Presence, everything else seems to dim. The cares of life no longer matter. If He is with you all else in life gains it’s proper perspective. No matter what you are going through in life. When He comes and fills you, overwhelms your being, touches the most central part of your heart with His Presence, life in this world trapped in the bubble of time, is revealed for what it is — transitory. He is the reality of life. His Presence sets all things in order. It is no wonder that Moses, favored by The Presence of The Almighty, would understand that life without His Presence is dicey at best, but amazingly victorious with it. It made no sense to Moses to proceed unless The Presence went with him.

Again, the key to this was the willingness to be interrupted. To allow Him to step in to the room whenever and wherever so that He can just be there with us. Are we willing to set aside our plans, our daily routines, our friendships, our wounding’s, our needs, to make time for Him? I will never be the same after Tuesday morning. I realize I am now spoiled. It would be great to spend all my day standing in His Presence filled with that Peace. But, I know my job is to paint this picture. To describe His eagerness to desire my presence. That is the other side of this coin. In the midst of all of this, I realized that as much as I wanted to be overshadowed by Him. His desire for me was far greater.

Oh what an incredible gift we have in Him.

I exhort you. Evaluate your day. Find time to invite Him to surprise you. Invite Him to interrupt you no matter where that might be. Maybe He will share a funny story with you, or illuminate His Word from the Bible with His unique perspective, or maybe He will just sit there and be with you.

Do the Philip Shuffle

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Yesterday a good friend came back from ministering all around the world. He logged so many air miles that he made the comment that he prayed that God would transport him the next time he has to travel. The conversation was on Facebook and a number of people chimed in, including myself. I had said that “We need to build a Holy Transporter Room”! So Ken said, “Build it!”.

Since I came to Christ in 1979 I have believed what Jesus said in John 14:12, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father”. At some point I knew I would be, healing the sick and the blind, casting out demons, and generally becoming a walking miracle dispenser. So the idea of doing, what I jokingly call, the Philip Shuffle, is something I am serious about.

So can I build a Holy Transporter Room? I doubt it. Mostly because, I am pretty sure it doesn’t work that way. I find it extremely interesting to read about the current experiments being done around the world today with quantum physics and how they have successfully “Transported” a few molecules or atoms from one site to another. So theoretically science is pursuing one of the more fantastic ideas to come from Star Trek. Every one of those articles end up by discussing how much more work, and much longer it will take to get this technology to point where you could send a watermelon from New York to San Francisco. Let alone a man from point A to point B. The consequences of a failed Transport reminds me of the old 50’s movie “The Fly”? I don’t think I will ever forget the end of the movie when the fly with the man’s head lands next to his girlfriend and you hear this little voice crying out, “Help me, Help me”! Science better get it right or . . . well just let your imagination go on that one!

But, God doesn’t need a room to transport. That much is obvious from reading the story about Philip and the Eunuch. Philip is told by an angel to go to the road in Gaza where he meets the Ethiopian Eunuch. He answers the man’s questions, baptizes him, and then Zip, Zam, Zowie Philip is transported to Azotus. It seems to me that God has already solved the problem of instantaneous travel.

As someone that didn’t grow up in the Church, and was raised on copious quantities of Science Fiction, the parts of the bible that tended to excite me the most were the parts where God shows off. Creation, Noah, Moses and the Red Sea, Joshua and the stopping of time, The Prophets, Jesus walking on water, walking through walls, instantly appearing to believers many miles apart, and yep Philip and the Eunuch. The healing miracles are awesome also. As well as the environmental miracles like calming the sea and cursing the fig tree. All of these supernatural events are implied as our heritage by John 14:12. That was extremely exciting to me as a new believer. I really could not wait to get started.

As time went by, however, those things became less important than my relationship with Him. What was –and still is — naturally supernatural to me was waking in the morning and talking to Him and hearing Him respond! It became more important to me to have that closeness. The assurance that He was there every moment of every day, waiting to talk to me.

So how does that relate to the Philip Shuffle? How WOULD one go about building a Holy Transporter Room? I think I would have to answer that question with another question. Probably, this would be a question Father would ask you if you asked Him about a Holy Transporter Room.

Are you willing to go to where He wants to transport you?

It’s His Transporter Room. I am sure there will be a day when we will all cram ourselves into the HTR (Holy Transporter Room . . . I got tired of typing it) with Our Father and all of us do the Philip Shuffle to go on a Celestial Pic-Nic to Alpha Centauri (or some such place). But, for now the HTR is reserved for Kingdom use only. Could The Father use it to transport you somewhere fun? Sure! Have we all heard stories of people appearing places to pray over someone and then just being gone? Yep. So the HTR is real. It’s just not like you see it in Star Trek. In fact God’s HTR is faster, quieter, and uses far less energy than a Federation Starship.

I am like my friend Ken. I would love to do the Philip Shuffle on an “every day” basis. So much less hassle — especially on trips to L.A. — and at today’s gas prices, much less expensive. But, today the HTR is reserved for those that are sold out and prepared to talk to a Eunuch, or a member of the Taliban that has been seeing Jesus in his dreams, or a cartel member facing death. Are we willing to be caught up in the middle of our day and injected into a situation where someone needs what we know? Are you that person that Father God can trust to transport?